New Book: The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy

I’m very proud to announce the publication of an eBook that I co-authored with Brian Solis, entitled “The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy“.

Based on research as well as real-world experience with our clients, Brian and I found that there are common characteristics of successful social business strategies, the most important one being a laser focus on achieving business goals. In fact, the most successful businesses are those with an executive who can articulate the vision and strategy roadmap almost as well as the social strategist.

Here’s a summary of the Seven Success Factors of Social Business:

1.  Define the overall business goals. You can’t align your social strategy with your business objectives if you don’t even know what your objectives are.

2. Establish the long-term vision. If you’re not striving toward the end goal, you’re likely to veer off the path. If you want your team to fully invest in your social strategy — and you need the support of your entire team– you’ll need to communicate your vision with clarity and passion.

3. Ensure executive support. In the early days you may be able to fly under the radar, but at some point, if you want to truly have an impact on the business, you’ll need the backing and support of key executives.

4. Define the strategy roadmap. You already know your business objectives and have a clear vision. But how are you going to get there? Plan out your route, what roads you’ll travel, and what roads you’ll avoid.

5. Establish governance and guidelines. Who is responsible for executing the social strategy? What’s your process of listening and responding to your customers? If you clearly define this process and then stick to it, you’ll spend less tie floating along throughout the social sphere and more time strategizing your social growth.

6. Secure staff, resources, and funding. In the early stages of social growth, you might outsource your social media campaign to an agency, and that’s fine. But you should also be looking down the road and planning to develop internal resources to take your company to the next level as your social prowess — and your business — grows.

7. Invest in technology platforms that evolve. Resist the temptation to jump on the latest technology bandwagon before you have a long-term strategic plan in place. Hold off on making significant technology investments until you’re equipped with a sound vision and strategic plan.

The organizations we studied didn’t necessarily have each of these success factors fully developed; rather, we found that it was much more important that each factor was aligned with immediate and long-term business goals.

So ask yourself — how robust is your social strategy? As you look at each of the elements above, consider how well you are doing in each area. Score your social strategy on each factor on a scale of 1 (not doing it well at all) to 5 (knocking it out of the park). In the spirit of open discussion, I’d love hear how you scored yourself — where your strategy is strong, where you need to improve.

In the book, we go into detail about how to approach each success factor, illustrating the key elements with best practices and exercises, as well as common mistakes to avoid. One of my favorite sections is how to convince and even rally decision makers at the executive level. Brian and I also designed the book to be a quick but useful read — at only 100 pages it’s something that you can give to your team and executives and reasonable expect that they will actually read it!

Our hope is that the book will help you move from having a pile of social media tactics to having a social business strategy around which your entire organization is aligned. And if you need additional help crafting that strategy, Altimeter can also help with our Social Business Strategy service offerings.

More information and additional resources:

Upcoming Webinar: Thursday, August 15th 10am PT/1pm ET. Registration and details.

 

Book review: The End Of Business As Usual by Brian Solis

My colleague Brian Solis has just published his latest book, “The End Of Business As Usual: Rewire The Way You Work To Succeed“. I was so excited to finally hold the book in my hands, especially after months of having talked and worked with Brian about the ideas in the book.

This is not a book about how to use social media. Read Brian’s last book, “Engage” as it’s an excellent primer with detailed how-tos. Rather, “End of Business” seeks to explain to executives and leaders who aren’t engaged in social media how connected customers are transforming business as we know it.

Written from the point of view of the connected consumer, the first half of the book looks at phenomenons ranging from the evolution of social networks into personal operating systems to the rise of social commerce. If you read Brian’s blog, you’ll recognize Brian’s fingerprints all over these chapters — rich examples, clear explanations, and always a sense that Brian is at your side as a trusted guide.

But I found the most valuable insights in the second half of the book where Brian becomes prescriptive about how businesses need to approach business differently. In particular, Brian makes the case that you must evolve your business to become “adaptive” to the connected consumer. He’s evolved his call to action from “Engage or Die!” to “Adapt of Die!”. I quote from the book on what is different today:

“The pivot of any business is not whether it can reach consumers, it’s the reality of whether consumers, especially connected customers, wish to connect with them now and over time.”

Brian lays out how a business needs to rewire for this new reality, one that turns away from being internally driven by a strategic plan to one that is guided by an entire organization centered on creating a magical customer experience — and importantly, customer relationship — with these connected consumers. Thus the hallmark of an adaptive business is that it will shift and evolve as an organization, from top to bottom, to be responsive to customers. The last three chapters resonated the most with me, as they layout the framework for an adaptive business, how to evolve your business to shift from rigid to adaptive, and the future evolution into predictive businesses.

You can read more about the book at endofbusiness.com. Other resources:

YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DZ9XAzwhlA

Brian’s post: http://www.briansolis.com/2011/10/announcing-the-end-of-business-as-usual-the-new-book-is-available-now/

Jeremiah Owyang’s post: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2011/10/18/adapting-to-radical-changes-in-business

Groundswell Paperback: A Look Back Three Years Later

Groundswell NameplateThree years ago, Josh Bernoff and I proudly launched our book, Groundswell. To our astonishment, it has sold more than 100,000 books and now a new, updated paperback version is available (links below), with two new chapters on how to use Twitter and social maturity.

A lot has changed over the past three years – in May 2008, Facebook and Twitter were still nascent and the iPhone had no apps! To address this, Josh added a new chapter about Twitter. But the theme of the book — that you have to focus first on the relationships created by social technologies (and not the technologies themselves) – still resonates today.

At the same time, very little has changed. One of my favorite examples in Groundswell is how Dell responded to one of their notebooks spontaneously bursting into flames in June 2006. The chief blogger, Lionel Menchaca, wrote a blog post titled, “Flaming Notebook” that linked to a photo of that laptop on fire. Talk about guts! That was five years ago, and as a whole, organizations still lack the maturity to be able to truly engage in an honest, authentic dialog – despite their adoption of social technologies.

Groundswell has a new chapter discussing social maturity and Forrester published a report this week on the topic. My organization, Altimeter Group, has done research and consulting on this, as have agencies like Dachis. The fact that so many people are chiming in on how to address social strategies is an indication of the strong interest. But the fact that so many organizations are still treating social as a marketing and messaging channel demonstrates that we still have a long, long way to go.

A key reason why I wrote my second book, Open Leadership, is because leaders could viscerally feel the change that social media was causing in the pit of their stomach – and they lacked the framework to understand how to think, act, and lead in a new environment where relationships were being formed in these new channels. Leadership is built on relationships, and leaders in general have failed to grasp this change.

Groundswell

But by far my favorite part of the new paperback edition is the quotes from readers describing the impact Groundswell has had on them. It is the most gratifying and humbling experience as an author to know that your words have had an impact. I love it when readers show me their books that have been highlighted, dog-eared, and filled with post-it notes. (This photo is from Elizabeth Gebhardt, who showed me her book at an event in 2009.) And I am especially awed when people tell me that Groundswell inspired them to start new jobs or even careers because of the inspiration they got from the book.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of the readers of Groundswell, and I hope to all of the new readers that you find it just as relevant today. It has been a joy hearing from you over the past three years and I hope to continue growing the relationship we’ve begun!

Where to buy the Groundswell paperback:

Last chance to enter the Open Leadership Awards (plus a bonus)

A final reminder that the Open Leadership Awards submission process is drawing to a close. There were some problems with the Web site and submission details, so we are extending the deadline to Monday, September 13th at 6pm Pacific Time for submissions.

And I’m offering a special bonus to the first three organizations to submit an entry — a free one-hour call with me. So don’t wait until the last minute –take advantage of the opportunity to connect with me one-on-one and submit ASAP!

Entering a case study is easy — go to the Open Leadership Awards site where you can get detailed information and submit a case study. You’ll be asked to register and provide basic contact information before you see the submission page.

The case study submission has four required essays:

1. Long description (500 words or less). Describe an example of open leadership where the organization enabled better, more open relationships with either customers and/or employees. Include specific examples of the use of social technology enabled more open information sharing and/or decision making.*

2. Leadership (500 words or less). Describe how a person(s) affected the outcome of this program. This can be an individual’s initiative, a supportive executive, or person on the front lines.

3. Impact (500 words or less). How did this program add value to the organization? Impact can be quantitative or qualitative, but there needs to be proven impact. Example: % of employees engaging with customers increased from x to y over the last six months.

4. What have you learned (500 word or less). Describe the journey the organization took, especially how you overcame the obstacles and failures along the way.

In addition, there is a Short Description (100 words or less). This is a summary of your submission. You will also be able to include a URL as well as upload materials such as photos, videos or presentations.

Any questions? Send an email to openleadership (at) altimetergroup (dot) com.

Win a Free Meeting with Charlene Li

Update: This contest is closed and winners have been contacted. Thanks so much to those who participated!

I’m thrilled that my new book, “Open Leadership”, was recently named #5 on the New York Times bestseller list.To celebrate, I’m giving away five one-hour meetings (in person* or on the phone). You can use this meeting to ask questions, have me do a Webinar for your company, share cool things you are doing — and if it’s in person, I’ll even buy you lunch!

Last year, I gave away such a meeting for a charity auction and the lunch I had with Solarwinds resulted in a case study that I included in the “Open Leadership” book. So think of the possibilities!

To enter, go to the Entry Form and enter the following information:

  • Your name, title, company/organization, and email.
  • The first “Rule of Open Leadership” which appears on page 14 of the book. If you don’t have the book already, you can find it in many retail stores. A list of places to find the book online is available at http://bit.ly/buyopenbook. Or find the book on Google Books where you can quickly flip to page 14.

No purchase is necessary….but I’d really appreciate it if you’d purchase a copy of “Open Leadership”. It also makes a great gift for your management team! Purchasing a copy has no impact whatsoever on your chances of winning in the random drawing.

Complete entry and giveaway rules are available and if you have questions, please send an email to giveaway@charleneli.com.

*In person meetings are in the Bay Area or wherever I may be traveling. They cannot require additional travel on my part.