Social Media Strategies v Social Business Strategies

Social Business Strategies v Social Media Strategies

An Altimeter report by Li and Solis defines the difference between a social business strategy and a social media strategy.

“A social media strategy lays out the channels, platforms and tactics to support publishing, listening and engagement.” – Li & Solis

A social business strategy, however, is the way an organisation integrates social technologies into business values and practices to help build relationships and encourage people to talk about the business. A social business strategy will be successful if there is an alignment between the strategic goals of the organisation and the support that executes the strategy.

Elements of a Social Business Strategy

Li & Solis define six main elements or stages of a social business strategy. These can all be seen in the image below.


Image received from
  • Planning – the first step in a social business is gathering information about the market and what consumers want/need.
  • Presence – become even more active on platforms that the business is involved in already.
  • Engagement – try to engage potential or existing customers in online conversations about the product. These conversations can be between two or more consumers, or between consumers and the business. The more active/supportive a business is online, the more people will want to engage with the organisation.
  • Formalised – rules, regulations, and goals around employees use of social media will help a business to control what is being said online as to not offend anyone and keep a level of professionality.
  • Strategic – This element involves connecting social media to all other business units, not just ICT technicians.
  • Converged – by this point, social media should be incorporated into all different parts of the business, whether it is used as business-to-consumer or even within the organisation.


Success Factors of a Social Business Strategy

Li and Solis also define 7 success factors of a social business strategy.

  • Goals – a business strategy is formed around what the business wants to achieve using the strategy, so goals are a necessary first step.
  • Vision – a long-term vision will help a team remain focused and passionate on the strategy and achieving their goals.
  • Support – the support of executives is necessary so they can be an advocate for the strategy and back the goals and progress being made.
  • Strategy – A strategy roadmap is helpful as it will help the organisation get from A to B, from where the business is now to achieving the goals.
  • Guidelines – Clearly defined guidelines and rules will help all employees to know what to do in certain situations, instead of doing something that isn’t important and helping the company towards the goal.
  • Staff – In order for your social business strategy to be effective, the organisation should work on improving the skills of every business unit, and make them more social.
  • Invest – make clever social investments. Instead of just doing what everyone else is doing, research and work out a strategic plan before deciding to invest in a certain technological decision.

Guidelines, in particular, can be very helpful to ensuring the success of a social business strategy – if an organisation has no guidelines, then employees will be unsure of what they can or cannot do. Guidelines such as IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines are used to show employees of the company how social media should be used to make the social business strategy successful.

These guidelines include:

  • Being who you are and positively exchanging and supporting ideas.
  • Know and understand not only the IBM guidelines, but copyright laws also.
  • Think before you type – be careful of how you present yourself on social media, respect the audience of your posts, if it doesn’t add value, don’t post it.
  • Protect confidential/private information about coworkers, clients and suppliers.
  • Use common sense to decide what is appropriate, but if you do something wrong then be the first person to respond to your mistakes.


Thanks for reading, feel free to comment on what you thought! :~)


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