HBR: What’s Your Social Media Strategy

The July/August 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review focused on collaboration, and building a culture of trust and innovation. One of the first articles, “What’s Your Social Media Strategy?” shows four ways companies are using technology to form connections.

It’s worth reading if you have time, but here’s a quick summary:

The “predictive practitioner”

This approach confines usage to a specific area, such as customer service. It works well for businesses seeking to avoid uncertainty and to deliver results that can be measured with established tools.

The “creative experimenter”

Companies taking this approach embrace uncertainty, using small-scale tests to find ways to improve discrete functions and practices. They aim to learn by listening to customers and employees on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes they use proprietary technologies to conduct internal tests.

The “social media champion”

This involves large initiatives designed for predictable results. It may depend on close collaboration across multiple functions and levels and include external parties.

The “social media transformer”

This approach enables large-scale interactions that extend to external stakeholders, allowing companies to use the unexpected to improve the way they do business.

Organizations will tend to move between these to some extent, and the article suggests that companies with clear strategies should start in the predictive practitioner stage. ┬áThis means focusing your efforts in specific areas, for specific purposes, which I might say isn’t the path that many organizations will take (many take a variation of the “creative experimenter,” but that may be due to a lack of clear strategy).

To get significant results, the author suggests that companies should develop large-scale strategies, such as a specific “social media champion” campaign. And, as you may have guessed, the “social media transformer” strategy can have the largest impact, but requires major, companywide changes. “The social media transformers we’ve seen often have broader social business objectives and view social technologies as a key enabler of – but not the final answer to – those objectives,” suggest the authors.

Where do you fall?

Leave a Reply