Most businesses believe there is value in using social media, the big challenge is the transformation into a social business when the decision is made to get serious about it.
Social media thought leader Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter explains most businesses organise for social media in one of five models
- 1. organic 2. centralised 3. coordinated 4. dandelion 5. honeycomb
I’ll go over the first three which are the most common.
1. Organic (decentralised)
An example could be different departments start their own social media accounts because they “have to be on social media” to communicate with customers.
This ultimately leads to a fragmented customer experience by the business where one account may be run well by a department with social media experience and another account run poorly by a different department with no social media experience.
This leads to a more consistent customer experience compared to the organic model.
However the drawback is that efforts can’t be scaled up as they’re restricted to the amount of resource available in that one department.
3. Coordinated (hub and spoke)
By enabling and supporting multiple departments through centralised resources, a consistent customer experience is provided by the business.
Efforts can be scaled up as needed by enabling more of the business.
The drawback is that it’s costly, requires executive support and cross-departmental buy in to make it work.
What is a Social Media Centre of Excellence?
Once again Jeremiah Owyang provides the following definition for a Social Media Centre of Excellence:
“This is a program deployed by companies trending in the advanced levels of social business maturity. The Social Media Centre of Excellence (CoE) is a centralised program that provides resources, training, and strategy to a variety of business units (departments) that are deploying social media in order to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and provide standardisation. This team is often run by the Corporate Social Strategist, who’s the business stakeholder and program champion.”
The following diagram explains the key duties:
Why consider a Social Media Centre of Excellence?
- Provide customers with a consistent social experience
- Obtain efficiency throughout the business
- Foster accountability across departments
- Coordination among departments
Intel, Adobe, Dell and Ebay are all examples of businesses who operate with a Social Media Centre of Excellence.
Social Business Hierarchy of needs
As a social business grows and transforms, there are certain needs that need to be fulfilled. The following diagram demonstrates the social business hierarchy of needs.
This phase is all about developing a business plan and putting governance in place.
The safety phase is about getting organised, choosing the team and getting processes in place especially to deal with crises.
Implement the Social Media Centre of Excellence and connect with departments (business units) to increase coordination and reduce duplication.
Grow by giving departments (business units) the support and flexibility to reach goals.
The holy grail where real-time market response can be fed into business processes and planning.
Transforming into a true social business requires a serious level of commitment, investment and readiness that not all businesses may be ready for. For further information on how advanced businesses prepare internally, read the Altimeter report on Social Business Readiness.
Which model (organic, centralised, coordinated) should a business adopt?
Jeremiah Owyang says the following at 36:10 in the following video:
“If social is not a function you want to scale in your company, focus on centralised, it’s a safe bet but you won’t scale … I recommend to scale you go for coordinated hub and spoke.”