Social Business Strategy

Social Media Strategy Has a Problem

Through research, Altimeter Group has learned that social media strategists face great challenges as they work to make their company truly social. The numbers are stacked against organizations:

  • Only 34% of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.
  • Just 28% of companies we studied feel that they have a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision.
  • A mere 12% are confident they have a plan that looks beyond the next year.
  • Only half said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”

Introducing Altimeter’s Social Business Strategy Roadmap

Social business champions need to take strategies to the next level and Altimeter Group has a number of advisory programs that guide organizations through an important series of steps that lead to social business transformation.

What is a Social Business Strategy?

Altimeter’s definition of a successful Social Business Strategy (SBS) turns out to be simple: The SBS aligns with strategic business goals of the organization and has alignment and support throughout the organization. Altimeter’s SBS offerings are designed to bring together and align people, departments and stakeholders into a common vision and strategy tying social media initiatives to business objectives and priorities.

Below is an overview of the SBS process, with details behind each of the offerings. Note that not all elements of the process need to be followed – Altimeter customizes the strategy development for the specific needs of each organization.

Social Business Strategy Process - Discovery, Strategy Development and Organizational Development

Altimeter has created a suite of solutions to help strategists overcome confusion or skepticism within the organization. Each are designed from an executive perspective while remaining empathetic to the needs and aspirations of social strategists.

Altimeter’s Social Business Strategy Suite is designed as a complete process or it can be implemented through a menu-driven approach to meet your specific needs.

Let’s review how our program can help you…

Phase 1: Discovery

The first phase is Discovery, where we establish the goals and existing capabilities of the organization, as well as identify initial opportunities to help inform and educate leadership for future alignment. The components of the Discovery phase include:

1A. Stakeholder Engagement and Findings Review
Designed to discover opportunities and challenges for social business transformation among key stakeholders and executives. Findings surface key areas of focus, pave the way for next steps, and also create alignment and excitement.

1B. Social Readiness Roadmap
Companies must be prepared internally in a scalable formation for social business as they deploy customer-facing programs. Social business is an intense internal change inside of companies that results in new organizational structures, roles, policies, processes, and software tools to be deployed. This comprehensive review will both measure the state of the existing corporation internally, as well as give pragmatic actionable advice on how to move forward.

1C. Social Media Policy & Risk Assessment
Social media has its positives – broader messaging and customer engagement. But it also has inherent risks that most organizations fail to recognize. Those risks include reputation risks, malware, compliance and regulatory risks, privacy risks, and others. This component
creates a prioritized list of known and potential social media risks, and then matches mitigation efforts against those risks. It also includes an assessment and evaluation of the current social media policy and recommendations on how to improve and update the policy and supporting documents.

1D. Opportunity Analysis
A thorough review of companies once in a similar state or those that faced comparable challenges. Research and analysis demonstrates and how each business successfully achieved a desired state of social business strategy.

1E. Socialgraphics
An examination of social customers, trends affecting decision-making, and the digital technologies they use to reveal social behaviors, expectations, and preferences.

Phase 2: Strategy Development

Strategy development is often an arbitrary process. Social and new media is often introduced through a fire, ready, aim approach driven by technologies, creative ideas and industry pressure to engage. Here, Altimeter Group will align the organization around a three-year vision, identify go-to-market initiatives and prioritize the initiatives into a three-year roadmap. In addition, the Roadmap will identify the key elements of the strategy, including the Governance and Organization, Risk and Compliance, Resources, People, and Skills/Training needed to execute on that plan over the next 36 months.

2A. Social Business Vision
A Vision Statement aligns the organization around a long term vision and keeps the strategy work centered on a clear outcome. The organization aligned around this core objective, usually centered on meeting the needs of Customers and Employees. Altimeter works with senior executives to craft the vision – a simple statement of the future desired state – that will form the foundation for the strategy.

2B. Strategy Roadmap
A guided process that brings together stakeholders, strategists and executives to brainstorm strategic initiatives and plot a unified social business roadmap that looks ahead three years. Altimeter delivers a detailed and prioritized plan that outlines initiatives, resources, interdependencies and all other aspects necessary to execute.

2C. Metrics Development & Alignment
This component supports organizations in creating appropriate social business performance measures for its social business efforts. It starts with prioritizing the top measurement goals, understanding existing data sources, and identifying critical success factors for metric implementation. The outcome of this component is a set of objective-based metrics that will be used to measure progress against the social business strategy.

2D. Identify and Prioritize Initiatives
This component typically begins with an in-person working session that pulls together all in one place potential initiatives and tactics that can be executed to achieve business goals. These initiatives are then prioritized based on the organization’s ability to execute versus value to the organization and the subsequent investment required. These prioritized initiatives are then put on to a 36 month (3 year calendar), and resources required for implementation are identified. Also included in the Initiative Roadmap is a triage process to identify and decide which new initiatives should be added – ore removed.

Phase 3: Organizational Development

Once a strategy is set, it will require an infrastructure to support its development, execution and measurement as you grow. As identified in Phase 2, or treated as a standalone program, Altimeter Group works with the social media team and key stakeholders to outline and build out the most effective model for your organization. Additionally, Altimeter provides research-based advisory to establish processes, training programs and necessary social technologies to provide management and scale. Where needed, Altimeter Group will produce necessary procedures and materials ranging from rules and guidelines to playbooks and strategy frameworks. From there, we can see you all the way home with content and mobile strategy through to training.

3A. Governance & Organizational Structure
Any one department does not necessarily own social media as its benefits and opportunities extend across the entire organization. As such, a centralized group is needed to govern all things social media and to empower lines of businesses and functions to become self-efficient in extending existing capabilities and strategies through new social channels. The component includes the review of the current governance process and recommendations for improvements, how to effectively structure a Center of Excellence (CoE) for social media, and a high-level governance process for how new initiatives will be created, reviewed, and green-lighted within the organization.

3B. Content Strategy Roadmap
Given the convergence of Paid, Owned, and Earned media channels, organization need a content strategy that provides a roadmap on how to structure, formalize and govern content creation, production and distribution within the company. A key issue is ensuring various groups around the company are aligned on a common, clear content strategy and that there’s a roadmap aligned with overall business goals for success.

3C. Social Data & Analytics Roadmap
This component takes the social media metrics identified earlier and lays out the organization, people, and technology needed to put robust measurement in place. It identifies core areas of strength, as well as areas that require further development, as they relate to measurement. The outcome is a set of data sources, formulae, insights, and short list of vendors and RFP content to support a robust measurement strategy.

3E. Training Program Roadmap
Social business represents a profound internal change that impacts organizational structures, roles, policies, and processes. Regular training is required to keep up with constantly evolving best practices that will support business goals and minimize risks. Altimeter Academy provides a research-based and frequently updated curriculum that helps organizations build the foundation for successful social business programs.

3F. Technology Assessments
A social business strategy typically also requires tools and technologies to be deployed. Altimeter provides technology assessments in two areas:

  • Social Media Management Systems/Content Management
  • Social Media Listening/Analytics Providers
  • Enterprise Social Networks
  • Mobility Management

Reasons to conduct a technology assessment include:

  • Save the organization from dealing with a confusing vendor selection process.
  • Provide customized accurate recommendations.
  • Indicate the benefits and risks of each vendor.

This component consists of the following activities:

  1. Identify a prioritized list of key features and attributes needed to support the strategy;
  2. Identify a short list of potential vendors;
  3. Assist in writing the request for proposal. Altimeter can conduct Technology Assessments in the following areas:

Contact Us for More Information

If you would like to learn more about our Social Business Strategy offering, please contact