Is Your Social Business Foundation Solid?
“Are you repainting the walls, when you have a serious crack in the foundation?”
This quote comes from the JP Nicols blog post: Demystifying social media: It’s all about business strategy where he emphasizes the importance of considering your business strategy when planning how to use social media.
The essence of a social business is: listening to what customers and employees are saying, responding to them in a timely manner, and being authentic.
“Maritz Research found that 51% of consumers who complain via social media expect to be contacted, but that 85% of those outcries are not addressed at all.”
It’s like walking up to a house that is incredibly decorated for Halloween only to find the door locked and the blinds drawn. – Eggs, anyone?
There are several good books and blogs out there that address social business.
One that I refer to often is Mari Smith’s The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web.(affiliate link)
Although the book is not specifically about social business, it gives you the techniques and advice necessary to become one.
In her chapter, Create a Solid Foundation With the Right Culture, she cites the often profiled Tony Hsieh of Zappos as an example of a someone that built a billion dollar business on repeat customers and word of mouth.
How did he do this?
Everyone at Zappos is invested in making the customer experience as awesome as possible.When hiring, a “culture” fit takes precedence over a “skills” fit.
Here is a list of their core values:
– Deliver WOW through service
– Embrace and drive change
– Create fun and a little weirdness
– Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded
– Pursue growth and learning
– Build open and honest relationships with communication
– Build a positive team and family spirit
– Do more with less
– Be passionate and determined
– Be humble
Having everyone on side applies to what ever sized business you run. Whether you have one partner or three employees, it critical that everyone share and communicates your core values.
As a small business owner, you wear many hats including HR management.
A lot of times we hire out of desperation. Throughout my years in restaurants, I’ve actually heard managers say “If they walk and talk, they’re hired” – really?
Lack of time means new hires are rushed through the hiring, trained just enough to obtain the basic requirements of the job,then unleashed on co-workers and clients.
More time is spent polishing wine glasses than the people who are the face and personality of the company.
Your core business values are the foundation of your business. Every strategy you create and plan you execute is built on it; including your social media strategy.
Here’s some of the things Mari says can help you clarify your core values.
Recognize your inner circle- Make a list of all the people you love to spend time with, then a separate list of those you can’t stand to be around.
Notice how much more your values align with the fist list.
Identify your passion to find your values – Create a list of the things you love to do, every day; that you would do even if you didn’t get paid to do them. What values do they have in common?
Hire people with similar values – When recruiting a contractor or employee, ask yourself if you like this person. Would you enjoy this person in social situations? The same reasons you like this person, are likely the same ones that your clients and employees will.
Identify your future plans- Look at where you want to be in 3, 6 and 12 months’ time. Insert your target revenue and which positions or roles in the company you’ll need to build. (This will help avoid the “desperation” hiring trap.)
Share your vision to create your culture – As the proverb goes: Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Talk about your company to your clients, vendors and employees. Tell them what the company stands for. Share with them the experience you want everyone to be left with when they come into contact with your product, service and brand.
Having well defined and communicated core values form the foundation of a social business.
Before applying that social media coat of paint, check that your walls aren’t cracked.
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.