HomeBlog A Closer Look At Social Operations For B2B

A Closer Look At Social Operations For B2B

October 14, 2010 | By Jonathan Block

The benefit of a centralized social operations function is that it provides key strategic and alignment expertise that can help enable the execution of social tactics to a wide range of staff. Let's dive into the five competencies needed within social operations.

I wrote a while back regarding one key responsibility of the social operations function within a B2B organization and thought it useful to expand on the key competencies needed to make this critical resource a reality. 

The benefit of a centralized social operations function is that it provides key strategic and alignment expertise that can help enable the execution of social tactics to a wide range of staff. Let's dive into the five competencies needed within social operations.

  • Strategy. Based on our research, less than 30% of B2B organizations have an integrated, company-wide social strategy. Individual functions around the organization may have their own strategy, but social operations will help determine the overarching corporate goals and initiatives for company as a whole. This competency will also be invaluable in evaluating and managing social media technologies and agencies.
  • Governance. Every organization should have policies and procedures in place that govern employee behavior through social media, even if this is nothing more than an extension of your existing media policy. Remember years ago when the talk was that every employee was a brand ambassador? But we knew full well that 99% of employees would never be in front of the public or media. Now that more employees than ever are connecting with customers, prospects and influencers, rules of engagement and enforcement are necessary.
  • Training. Enabling employees to take advantage of social tools and sites for their role means training them in a wide range of areas. We recommend a modular approach that moves from the basics (such as setting up accounts and social etiquette) to more advanced best practices (such as using social for pipeline acceleration). Many organizations are beginning to build out training programs that lead to an internal certification.
  • Innovation. No doubt there are examples of social media success from around your organization. Rather than having staff continually reinvent the wheel, you should collect these best practices and socialize them out to the rest of the organization. As the bar continues to rise when it comes to social media expertise, this role should also be working to discover and integrate innovation from outside the organization as well. Remember that innovation doesn't have to be social tactics only, but can also be processes as well as organizational approaches.
  • Measurement and insight. Given that this is an area of angst for most organizations, creating an effective measurement and analytics process that encapsulates metrics, key performance indicators and financial impact is key to social media success. Creating an effective social dashboard that can track and measure the results of any investment in both funds and personnel is also essential; the most effective dashboards demonstrate how customers and prospects are engaging in social media throughout their buying cycles.

It's important to note that the size of the social operations function isn't set in stone; smaller organizations may have one individual that serves as the entire function while larger organizations can have multiple individual staff for each competency and may even have satellite social operations functions in different regions.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is Vice President and Practice Director, Technology, at SiriusDecisions. He has developed key models and frameworks that enable b-to-b organizations to understand, evaluate and implement appropriate marketing and sales technologies, as well as advised executive clients on the role of technology to help drive sales and marketing integration and enterprise alignment. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @jblock.

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