Prepare for impact

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In my earlier blogpost on how to implement social business the right way, I explained that there are basically four ways you can use social media to generate more income or extra savings for your organization. During a social business project, you’ll help your colleagues improve their communications and their relationships with one out of four target audiences: other colleagues, potential colleagues, clients, or potential clients.

It’s all going to be business as usual soon

You already know social media are no magical potion. Social business is not something you switch on and all of a sudden all of your challenges are resolved. Social media are just tools and using them for business purposes is hard work. At the same time, social business is inevitable. In an age where information no longer equals power and computers are able to do most of our work faster, better, and cheaper, there’s only one way to make a difference (and keep a job): by being human.

Human relationships will become increasingly important, not only in keeping clients, but also colleagues. Making one department responsible for the commercial use of social media is neither effective, nor efficient. Why install a social media hub, while you have hundreds, maybe thousands, of bright minds working at your company? Stop creating bottlenecks. Instead acknowledge that using social media as business tools is the responsibility of everyone within the organization.

It’s all about the champions

Although, in the very near future social business will be business as usual, it currently isn’t. Trying to get all of your colleagues on board at once is a waste of time and energy. Instead focus on the ones that already understand the commercial possibilities of social media and that are willing and able to use their own social media accounts as business tools. I like to call these people an organization’s social business champions.

You can recognize these champions as people who share a certain passion online. Something that can be work related (like sharing economy updates on Twitter), or more personal (like sharing beautiful food pictures on Instagram). They’re not shy to showcase themselves and their knowledge and expertise, they provide their own vision on certain matters, help others, and are willing to leave their comfort zones.

Prepare for impact

Image by Darren Johnson, used under creative common license.

Focus your time and energy on these social business champions. Let them personally experience what social media can do for them and help them book real business results. To monitor these successes I’ve recently created a dashboard that will enable you to measure results for two types of (pilot) projects:

  1. generating new business – with existing or new clients (scenario 3 & 4)
  2. attracting new employees (scenario 2)

You can download this dashboard for free on my website. There, I also explain how you can use the dashboard to gather results and create monthly social business reports.

The importance of sharing results

Please keep in mind that measuring results is only half the solution. It amazes me how often sharing results is overlooked. This is great of course if you are looking to keep the booked successes to yourself and limit the impact of the social business champions. If on the other hand, you are looking for a way to get more people involved in the commercial use of social media and convince the decision makers within your organization of its usefulness, then maybe you should share.

I think, it’s important to share the social business champions’ successes with three different groups of people within your organization:

  1. the other champions
  2. the rest of the organization
  3. the decision makers

Sharing results with the other social business champions makes for a healthy competition. Clarifying to the group of champions what John managed to achieve and how he did that, not only makes them hungry for the same, but also enables them to do so themselves. Sharing results with the rest of the organization makes them aware of the commercial possibilities for your company and will eventually turn nay-sayers into advocates. It goes without saying that reporting to the decision makers is of the greatest importance. They decided to invest time and money in to the project. Therefore, they’re entitled to know what the return on their investment is.

I truly hope, you find this free social business champions dashboard useful and look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on it some time soon.

Jochem Koole

Social business strategist, Social Business Strateeg


Independent social business strategist based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Works mainly for large B2B service providers. Worked with clients like Grant Thornton, Deloitte, Loyens & Loeff, Microsoft, and PostNL. Believes that successfully using social media as business tools is not so much about the tools, it's about people; the people within an organization and their target audiences. Social media are just tools to improve communications and relationships between these people, hereby contributing to organizational goals.

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