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Our Thinking

Social Capability

With so much focus on Social ROI and social performance, an important issue is often forgotten: social capability.

This concept refers to an organization’s ability to take advantage of the promise of social media. Too often, the limiting factor for social performance is not what is being done, but rather what cannot be done.

Removing the social media glass ceiling means looking at five key areas:

  • Integrated blog and website, using a WordPress platform: The days of a separate blog no longer make sense. And the days of websites that no longer have integrated social features (commenting, liking, sharing, syndication) are also long gone.
  • A mobile and tablet strategy: With more users interacting when they are away from their desk than sitting at it, a made-in-2007 mobile strategy makes no sense. The initiative should be both location-aware and socially-connected: most are not.
  • Enlightened access attitudes: “Protecting” users within an organization from interacting with prospects, clients, and suppliers using the social web is as silly as removing telephone access. Yes, employees should be held to account for their responsibilities, but firewall restrictions for Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites is dysfunctional. Even more so when users can easily access these sites on their smart phones.
  • Training for employees and other stakeholders: Developing capability means not just training on policy, but also demonstrating how to use Social Media to advance the organization’s strategic goals. Having everyone appropriately interacting externally is far more powerful than just having one person do it.
  • Integration, not tack-on: Are Social Media principles embedded throughout the organization, or are they tacked on to a marketing department’s responsibilities as an add-on? Staff in HR, Operations, Procurement, IT, Legal, (and others) can often use Social Media within their jobs: segregating Social Media to one or two “experts” limits capability, not builds it.

This week’s action plan: There are many other ways to build social capability, beyond these five. Nevertheless, this week improve your social capability by choosing one and doing better at it.