social business zoom startThere seems to be a mad rush to get on the social band wagon. Even though you and your business have been without Facebook, Twitter, a blog, LinkedIn or Google+ for your entire life and business history all of a sudden someone in your organization who has authority has decided you need to “get on social media,” by next Friday.

Whoooaaa horsey, slow down!

“Doing social” or “getting on social”  is far different from being a social business.

This is the first in a series of posts I will be writing about being social versus doing social.  For the purpose of this post let's dive into the first question… Are you ready to BE social? Are you ready to BE a social BUSINESS?

10 Questions To Confirm If You're Ready To Become a Social Business

1. WHY are you doing social media? Do not move to question two, do not pass go as you will not collect your $200 and will go straight to NO ROI jail if you can't answer this question. Think about what social media can and will do for your business? How can it help you better meet your business goals? How can you better connect with your audience of clients, prospective clients, partners, media etc.? What benefits do you expect because of your efforts in social media? If your only answer to the “why” question is “my boss told me to” or “we have to because all of our competitors are doing it” then I challenge you to hit the pause button now. You are doing it for the wrong reasons.

social business readiness questions2. Are you committed? Is your management committed? They need to be committed in both mind and wallet. Are you ready to put in the appropriate amount of resource, time and budget? Social media is not free. It will steal your greatest asset which is time. You must be committed to setting goals, objectives and building an integrated plan for success.

3. Can you put people before tools? This is critical. You must be willing to take a step back to take two steps forward. Stop focusing on learning every feature of every social network. Instead start with your business objectives, your audience and how you can help and connect with them.

4. Are you willing to invest in real people? Are you willing to invest in talking to people like they are human? In getting to know them? In learning what makes them tick? Learn what makes them happy, sad, excited, mad and inspired. The more you can learn about the audience the more you can develop and execute a plan that will deliver results.

5. Can you stop the random acts of social media? We call these rotten random acts of marketing and social media RAMs or RAMMIES. They are not good. They may feel good, taste good while you're eating them. Hoewver, like a bad hangover they leave you feeling rotten, lifeless and out of gas when they're done. They eat your bottom line and ROI for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoid them at all cost if you want success.

social media integration business 6. Can you spell INTEGRATION? I know this is a word that has been used for decades in business marketing. Some say it's a word we should remove from our vocabulary. However, until they can tell me a better word to use to help people understand then I will continue to use it. Bottom line, to eliminate the RAMs in your business, marketing and social media you must integrate. Business leaders usually think integration and planning takes more time and is expensive. WRONG! Yes, it may take some time up front. However, the results can be exponential. You must know where you are going before you can get there.  Integration is what helps you get there faster, more enjoyable and with far better return.

 7. Can you accept failure? This is a big one. You at one point in social media will fail. You will make a mistake. You will launch a social network page that nobody will “like” initially. You will post post on your Facebook wall and nobody will comment or like except you and your mom. However, you can't let the failures stop you. When it happens go back to your “why”. Go back to your plan. Go back to the “how” you can help your audience. Focus on your audience and helping them meet their objectives and you will fail far less.

 8.Are key departments in the game? The only way you are going to be able to deliver and execute an integrated plan that is focused on your audience that will help you meet business goals and objectives is if your key stakeholders and departments are in the game. If your customer service team is the main interface to the world outside of your office and they are not in support of the business doing social media then it is a recipe for disaster. We have worked with clients where we have spent the first year simply training them and helping them integrate social media into their business. We took 3 steps backward so we could help them take 10 steps forward. We have some case studies being documented but I can tell you the results and decision to do such has been exponential to if we would have rushed them onto Facebook. They now have an integrated platform with an internal team ready to zoom social media!

9. Can you handle the skeletons in the closet? If you properly integrate, work to eliminate the random acts of social media and focus on your audience I can almost guarantee most businesses there are going to be big skeletans that fall out of the closet. It's okay. It happens to the best companies. There will be sales processes that fall out of the closet that are 100% broken, there will be customer service phone calls that are monitored that show where the bottleneck and black holes are for sales. The best thing you can do is throw the skeletons on the table and deal with them. Have a positive attitude and the rest of your team will too. You are taking a step to move forward. Don't keep them locked in the closet as they're bound to come out someday! Might as well deal with them now!

social zoom agent10. Do you have a social zoom agent? This is someone who is internal to your company. The person may or may not be you. It's someone who will take on responsibility for the success of becoming a social business. If the social zoom agent is not an executive with authority then at minimum you need to have an executive social zoom champion who will support the social zoom agent. The agent will not pause until the job of becoming a social business is started in a really big way! They will own the success of the engagement, content, approach, strategy, integration. They will see to it randomness is avoided. There is only one result & that is success. This person must eat, sleep and breath a goal of becoming social business.


What you say? 

So are you ready? Or do you have some work to do? First step is to admit if you have work to do. Social media is about communication. It's about connecting with real people. If you can't talk about the above 10 things internally you are not going to succeed when you venture out into the open, viral world of social media. Be open. Be honest. If you are empowered, take the lead within your organization to achieve success.

What tips can you share with others for how to start social media in the right way? What did you learn the hard way? What would you do different if you had it to do all over again?