Social Business Silos Can Kill Your Company


Social Business Face Palm
Used Under Creative Commons Attribution Some rights reserved by striatic via Flickr

It is no secret that most businesses believe social media is an important new part of their business.  According to a recent study by Accenture:

  • Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents considered social media “extremely” or “very” important as a channel for customer interaction.

The same study found also that:

  • Only 5 percent of respondents reported having a strong and formal link between their social media efforts and other strategic customer initiatives.

This is not only surprising but also head-scratchingly confusing.  How can the same company acknowledge the importance of the social channel for customer engagement and then not coordinate what they’re doing in the rest of the business?

The answer: Silos.

All too often the social teams are that group of new hires – the ones sitting in the make-shift desk space getting paid to do mysterious magic on Facebook and Twitter. If that is even remotely close to your organization: DANGER! DANGER!  The recent social media #EPICFAIL of Quantas airlines should be a cautionary tale to all with silo’d social media teams.  In brief, just as the airline was experiencing a labor strike that grounded their flights and stranded passengers, their social PR team launched a Twitter campaign to describe traveler’s “dream luxury in-flight experience”.  The responses by irate customers has been characterized as, “the Hindenburg of social media strategies”.

The problem was not that the campaign was a bad idea.  It was a great idea with some cool prizes that coach passengers covet.  The problem was the lack of coordination with other organizational activities.  The problem was that the social media team was in a silo.  It is a good thing to remember when planning out your overall business strategy.

Business understands that social is the new playing field and that they need to field a team.  Rarely does the business understand how to play, let alone win the game.  Otherwise we’d see much bigger results.  That Accenture study sadly found that only 8% of business reported that they are fully leveraging the social channels on behalf of business.

But there is hope and there is help.  Get your social business strategy in place.  Identify your goals (click for the excellent post on how to do this by Zach Cole).  Coordinate your teams and put the business back into your social efforts!  BloomThink can help!

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