Social business : be open to external stakeholders

open1This article is coming from a white paper in french about enterprise social network, where 7 experts including me, shared their vision.  If you are interesting by this subject just let me remind you this white paper about enterprise 2.0 that I have coordinated. Here is the translation of my article about interaction with external stakeholders through social business.

More and more companies realize that they must open on the outside in social/collaborative way and not remain on the defensive. This means being able to work collaboratively with partners to develop a culture of social marketing to make its employees comfortable and effective in their interactions with external stakeholders such as customers or job applicants…

To prepare its employees to become ambassadors you have to support them and give them the means to make it. The enterprise social network is an enabler to develop this culture, but once again, we mostly talk about rethinking some processes, and silos issue. At the very least, it means sharing their experiences with other marketing services, communication, innovation , H … and capitalize to produce relevant contents towards customers, job applicants, partners, to meet the business needs of the company and make it more efficient.

This means building spaces where various discussion will take place through the enterprise social network opens on the internal and the external. This also implies that the company also began to organize themselves into networks at least around these topics, mainly with the marketing and communication services. This is even more true for a global group, where interactions are so numerous, that an isolated department can not meet the demand, or only in a fragmented manner .

Since nothing is innate, it also means  support employees who wish to be one of the faces of their brand : define roles (monitoring, curation, content producer … ) , processes, metrics … and of course the top management as sponsor who support the project and encourage employees. A collaborative project can not succeed without at least a good sponsor.

But above all support employees (training, sharing of best practices and knowledge … ), to give them the means to work collaboratively, foresee the process for responding to crisis situation and capitalize on all the information collected in order to respond quickly . We are getting closer in that case of Social CRM . Everything is coordinated by a center of excellence / expertise. It is process to organize inbound and outbound business.

Thinking that all your employees will feel like to represent their company and that you will select all employees who want to participate is somewhat illusory. It’s up to you to identify your most enthusiastic employees, who get already a strong presence on social media, which already willingly share their knowledge in the enterprise social network. Finally, make an early selection to make them the « eyes , ears and mouth » of the company. It will not be for them to promote a product or a service, but embody the brand of your company. This means that if outside you have a social behaviour, it is difficult not to have the same internally. In a process of social business, what you do inside can be seen from the outside and vice versa.