In Part Six of the Series on Social Business Strategy, I'll discuss the need to think optimistically by planning for adoption and growth of your social business.
There’s a funny thing about in-house product launches - you spend an awful lot of time planning for “what if's”. What if people don’t participate? What if people say the wrong things? What if people hate it and never come back?
You might get so caught up in planning contingencies that you miss the most exciting “what if” of them all - what if people love it? What happens when you get more participation than you expected? What do you do when people ask for more?
Factor Success into Your Social Business Plan
We’ve seen a lot more winners than failures when it comes to social business launches. That’s why we think it is just as important to plan for the second phase of your launch as it is to plan for the first. Once you’ve had your initial adoption and growth of social business, you have a small window to capture the enthusiasm of your workforce.
Next Step - Go a Little Deeper
If you are following the “start small” strategy then your next step is to go a little deeper. If you started with a single department pilot program, now is the time to bring another department onboard. Or, if you started with a widespread “fun and breezy” conversation, now is the time to take the conversation to the next level. To get the best value from a social intranet, every part of the business must eventually be able to join the conversation. Instead of being seen as just another channel for communication, social becomes part of the culture. Social is where documents are accessed. Social is how real work gets done.
Take One Step at a Time for Manageable Results
Don’t feel that you have to open up the firehose and get your entire business library integrated into the social intranet overnight. Let your employees guide you by identifying the types of things they need for the daily work.
Be sure to include management and team leaders when you do your planning to ensure that you have their buy-in along the way. Managers may need to see evidence that the program is generating value for other teams before they feel comfortable letting their employees engage in social activities during company time. As you bring more people into the system plan on having more meta-conversations, conversations about conversations. Invite teams to share openly, critique freely and suggest alternatives. Once this kind of dialog becomes spontaneous you know that you are achieving success.
Identify Key Performance Indicators
When a business becomes social it is easier for managers and senior business leaders to keep their fingers on the pulse of the organization. Activities can be quantified because they have data and metrics attached to them. Information is more accessible and less likely to be trapped in a data silo because now it is visible across the company. When you launch your social business you are at the beginning of a process that will drive engagement, productivity and profit. While much of the benefit of a social business platform comes from emergent behavior - social activities you couldn’t foresee and plan for - you do need a strategy to get the ball rolling.
Want to know more? Read the White Paper on the Six Strategies for a Successful Social Business that will guide you in building and implementing your strategy.