Business strategy and social business strategy

According to Wollan, Smith and Zhou (2010) a business strategy is “the direction, positioning, scope, objectives, and competitive differentiation” of the business.  However, having a social business strategy is important.  It is important and enables a business to learn from the business’ employees, customers, and partners (Li, 2010).  It is important and enables to drive a dialog (both internally and externally) and thus creates a relationship within and outside of the business (Li, 2010; Wollan et al., 2010). This relationship can lead to innovation, because of what is learned from having this relationship within and outside of the business (Li, 2010).

From an external view of a social media strategy, it is seen to engage with its customers and promote its business along with its business strategy.  Originally, marketing departments and public relations (PR) teams ran the early uses of social media, but eventually, it got too complex (Wollan et al., 2010). Today, many companies have multiple teams that use social media, and this is in line with open leadership (Li, 2010; Wollan et al., 2010).  All these departments have to deal with the following key issues related to the business strategy, and it should be contained in their social media strategy (Wollan et al., 2010):

  • “How is social media aligned to the business?”
  • “How should social media decisions are made [or prioritized]?”
  • “How do we manage social media investments?”
  • “What controls do we need in place?”
  • “How do we measure and reward?”

This social media strategy should be created not just by executives but through leaders encompassing all the departments, because of social media impacts all departments, not just marketing and PR departments (Wollan et al., 2010).

Placing an internal view of a social media strategy, it can help shape the human capital strategy, which enables the business strategy (Wollan et al., 2010).  Considering the human capital strategy helps define the needs of their employees, discovering and attracting talent, developing high-potential talent, and deploying the talent in the right place and at the right time through knowledge sharing plans (Wollan et al. 2010). Also, business employees know and even feel any changes made in the business strategy (BusinessWeek Online, 2012). Social media is one of many ways to help drive and understand employee responses to these changes.

However, engaging people/customers from a business perspective is not as simple as just starting a social media page/account and watching what happens.  Li (2010), described that there is an engagement pyramid, where watching what happens and the competitors/suppliers have the lowest level of social engagement and sharing, commenting, producing and curating content show increasing levels of engagement.  It’s in the higher levels of engagement that helps one develop a relationship via social media.  Businesses need to move past the watching what happens level of engagement and start curating content that helps customers and employees share their content (“word of mouth”), which can help drive up the sales of their products and services (Boysen, 2012).

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