Social Commerce – An Organisational Approach

Here are some home truths that creative social media marketing people will find outside of their brief, but CEO’s and Operations Directors should take heed of. The following perspectives are grounded on my research done with Oxford Brookes University and Henley Business School.

Social Media is not just for Marketing

Social media de-silos organisations through better collaboration with employees, supply chains and customers. Yes, social media is being used for marketing, but it should incorporate all business functions. Customer services can use social media for handling queries and complaints cost effectively and in a very responsive real-time interactive way.

Innovative companies are using social media for crowd-sourcing, involving their customers and external specialists in R&D. Firms such as Proctor & Gamble and Eli Lilly have considerably reduced time-to-market by syndicating their R&D via a community called InnoCentive.com.

The business world is turning back-to-front with B2B and B2C communications transitioning to E2C, C2E and significantly C2C. More power and influence is being transferred to the consumer, the share-holders and potentially the employees as they are given a much louder voice and are able to confer with each other anywhere, anytime and in any place. Firms now need to navigate their way through this new paradigm. Success with social commerce means adopting it strategically, aligning it to corporate objectives and fully integrating it with business operations and yes marketing.  For example, Nokia are using social media for a major business transformation program involving their whole corporation. Rather than suppressing the use of social media, companies are making social media all inclusive, getting their staff to be the firm’s voice acting as one, making them a powerful positive force.  However, this strategy requires a good governance policy, a code of conduct and some employee education as to what their involvement is and what their tone of voice should be

Social Commerce Adoption

Those businesses who are adopting social media commerce productively are tackling eight business competencies.  Starting with ‘Informed Leadership’, whereby business leaders had got to grips with social commerce and are using its interactive, real-time, multi-media and limitless reach capabilities to make their businesses agile. Other competencies include using social media monitoring and analytics tools to listen to what is being said about their products and services and indeed their competitors. These tools help firms keep their figure on the pulse and respond to market or shareholder perceptions appropriately and when it really counts. Social commerce demands a new philosophy of openness and transparency that some firms are struggling to come to terms with, but inevitably will have little choice in doing.

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