Social Business Readiness: Are You There Yet?

How Companies Prepare InternallyAre we there yet? According to Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) of Altimeter Group, while companies are quick to deploy the latest social media technology, most companies are not prepared for the threat of social media crises, or the long-term impacts to business.

Jeremiah states: “We found that social media crises are on the rise, even though most (76%) could have diminished or averted had companies invested internally.”

Whether you’re already doing social media or thinking about it, there are key considerations to be mindful of, especially if you want to avoid risks to your brand reputation.  Think about it. Your word or brand reputation is all you have. Once you tarnish it, you’ll have a tough time trying to reclaim that trust. Especially for companies already participating online, it’s not just the company (that can control and maintain their messages), it’s the people who are putting their hands on the keyboard and sharing information freely. This can be a great thing or a nightmare.

You can help make it a great experience for everyone in your company by looking at four key requirements to get your business ready for social media – whether you’re already there or starting from scratch.  This is outlined in a new report by Altimeter Group titled Social Business Ready: Advanced Companies Prepare Internally.

  • Baseline Governance and Reinforcement: An established and reinforced corporate social media policy that allows for employees to participate professionally
  • Enterprise-Wide Response Processes: Defined processes for rapid workflow and engagement with customers in social media
  • Ongoing Education Program and Best Practice Sharing: Foster a culture of learning through ongoing social media education
  • Leadership from a Dedicated and Shared Central Hub: Organized in a scalable formation, with a cross-functional “Center of Excellence” 

Policy First

According to the report, a social media policy helps to protect the company and employees by outlining acceptable employee behavior in social channels. This will help safeguard the company against legal risks raised when employees represent the brand in public. A policy should provide proper guidelines on disclosure and confidentiality – what employees can share publicly and what’s considered proprietary. It should also include industry best practices with examples on the dos and don’ts.

Triage Plan

Should a crisis break, how will your company respond? This is where a company-wide response plan or what’s known as a triage plan is absolutely necessary. By working with key stakeholders to define a process, workflow and response plan will help guide your teams to readiness. This should include 24-7 monitoring and listening by identified members (typically Corp Comm, Social Media, and PR teams). Identify levels of risks and the workflow for your response plan. Key activities you plan to take for each of level.  Be sure to communicate this to business leaders so they can play a role in the execution of the plan.

Education Program – Ignorance Is Not Bliss

By properly implementing an ongoing education program, your company can rest assure that every employee is armed with the right tools and information to properly engage and represent the brand. This should include the proper usage of social channels, best practices, and ways to optimize the use to promote their personal brand as well as the company’s brand. Make recording of the education program to share with your employees as another option.

 Take it a step further by creating a social media playbook similar to what Eloqua did but include business scenarios as well. This should include a checklist of things that each business unit can do to further their business goals using the proper tools. Another good tip is to create a social media hub for all things social media so that your employees can easily access these tools.

Social Media Leadership

Provide social media leadership company-wide on an ongoing basis to ensure your company uses social channels to their full potential. Bring them out of the dark by guiding them throughout this process. Meet with your leaders to understand their challenges and outline ways social media can help them build a more robust program through the integration of social media marketing initiatives.

Full report can be accessed HERE.



  1. Great post Cindy. One of the areas we’re working on is helping team members build their social brand. We’re all ambassadors when it comes to social media.

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