Objectives & Strategy–Social Business Starting Points

There’s so much talk about social ROI but the focus seems to be on the endpoint (ROI). As important as determining the ROI can be, it’s the caboose on the business case train.

The starting point is objectives, followed by strategy design, KPI definition, and then lastly, the determination of the ROI. Let's talk turkey.


Social Business Objectives

The truth about social objectives is they aren’t all that different from other corporate objectives. They’re going to involve some combination that will lead to increased shareholder value.

And while I typically recommend to customers to think in terms of holistic corporate objectives, most companies are new to social. That means they want to start smaller, often on the departmental level before extending social programs across the enterprise.

Using a test program is a viable approach. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to connect departmental social objectives into a holistic corporate set of objectives when your test program is successful.

Here are some typical examples of objectives for social business initiatives:

  • Customer service savings from:
    • Increased agent deflections.
    • Improved agent productivity.
  • Increased sales revenues from:
    • Extended online footprint.
    • Higher impact with customers and prospects.
    • Higher sales per customer.
  • Marketing and public relations savings from:
    • Less expensive customer insights.
    • Better brand protection to mitigate communication crises.
    • Improved and targeted messaging to prospects and customers.
  • Product development savings from:
    • Better product ideation based on customer preferences and needs.
    • Accelerated product development.


Social Business Strategies

Once you’ve defined your social business objectives, you’re ready to design supporting social strategies.

Keep in mind, though, you need to know where your customers are before you start designing social strategies. Don’t just assume your customers hang out on Facebook and Twitter just because those are the channels most commonly talked about. Find out where your actual customers and prospects are.

Don’t worry about KPIs yet, either. Once you know your strategy, then you can determine the right operational and social metrics.

Although a social business model can touch all aspects of your operations, the top four arenas to consider are:

  1. Marketing and Public Relations – engaging prospects and customers to promote sales and brand loyalty.
  2. Customer Service – supporting existing customers and partners.
  3. Product development – creating customer-centric products.
  4. Team collaboration – with combinations of employees and external audiences.



Dr. Natalie and I talked about social objectives and strategies in today's Focus Roundtable, as part of our Simplifying Social Business series. You can catch the replay here.

We also dive into social objectives and strategies in more detail in our ebook The Business of Social Business.