Within five years, “social enterprises” could completely redefine customer value. We will see organizations emerge that will go way beyond polishing their presence on social networks and channels. Instead, they will make social media–the channels, the data, the users, the approach to collaboration–a part of every activity that zooms in on the customer.
In other words, social enterprises will ensure social is fully integrated across the business.
From what can be seen and deduced today, social enterprises will follow five principal tenets:
1. Center on the customer: Maintain real-time customer-centricity from strategy to execution, whether it’s determining how social helps shape personalization in ecommerce strategies or how it impacts customer service responses. Social enterprises aim to develop new products and services catered to customer expectations, creating lasting customer relationships.
2. Require tangible return on investment (ROI): Determine how each social media effort will contribute to targeted results. Social enterprises consider how social is driving sales, influencing media mix, increasing customer loyalty and cross-sales, and identifying new opportunities, products and services, etc., all tied to real business objectives and outcomes.
3. Become exceptionally analytical: Place analytics at the core of the entire enterprise and ensure every team member is socially and analytically literate–from entry-level employees to the C-suite.
4. Build muscle memory for speed to market: Bring new analytics capabilities to market and illustrate reliability and responsiveness in real time. Social enterprises develop an efficient way to test, learn, and scale these new products, with the right systems and team in place to produce results in real time. This depends on connecting external experiences and data to internal collaboration and knowledge management environments–bringing an “outside-in” perspective.
5. Govern effectively and efficiently: Define new integrated governance structures for managing social interactions and programs–i.e., how each part of the business is using social–and update the company’s structures, roles, responsibilities, policies, and processes accordingly. To become a truly social enterprise, every part of the business must be held accountable and work toward specific business outcomes when incorporating social into their strategies.
The future of social enterprises (see figure, below) will be defined by how these organizations incorporate a real-time stream of predictive insights and personalized messages into their businesses, and how they define customer relationships and experiences by the level of complete digital integration and influence. Social enterprises will notice the redefinition of management roles, with each part of the business responsible for managing, synthesizing, and acting on ongoing torrents of digital information and content received in real time.
Additionally, they will depend more on the integrated views of the customer across multiple touch points and channels–such as combining social with physical call centers–to maintain customer happiness, with access to the most up-to-date customer data in real time.
As new technologies and digital strategies need to be developed almost every day, social enterprises will need to constantly adapt to their evolving landscape and anticipate what the social enterprise of the future will look like. This moves away from social strategies that are siloed within the business, focused only on expanding reach and “engagement,” and closer to a landscape where social is everywhere, driving real-time actions tied firmly to measurable business objectives.
If companies get this right, social can increase intimacy and relevance with their customers, which can become the tipping point between buying or not buying and remaining a loyal customer or going elsewhere.