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Social business: Bridging the gap between strategy and governance

Altimeter Social Business Governance Figure 1As more and more businesses continue to implement social business into their overall strategy, the issue of social business governance is becoming a hot topic. What is social business governance? It’s the set of people, policies and processes that define how an organization executes its social business strategy.
Last week Altimeter Group published a new report on social business governance, exploring the relationship between governance and strategy while outlining some best practices for social business. It’s an illuminating report and I’d like to highlight some of the key findings on how this relates to our customers in financial services.

The gap between strategy and governance

One of the report’s more startling findings was the fact that, while social business strategy is well-developed and recognized as important, most survey respondents don’t believe that governance is well-defined and communicated across their organizations:

  • 53% of survey respondents agree that social business strategy forms the basis for governance
  • Only 16% of respondents believe that governance is well understood and deployed throughout the organization

In short, we still have a long way to go in terms of developing governance that is well-defined and fully supports an organization’s social business strategy. This is an even more critical issue for financial services organizations that operate in high-risk environments, as governance plays a critical role in preventing and mitigating risk.

Why we need governance

So why is it important to have governance that is clear, consistent, and understood throughout the organization? Altimeter lists several key drivers of governance within the report, but I’d like to call out a few that are particularly important to our customers:

  • Empower Employees: As consumer expectations shift, allowing employees to to engage in social channels to grow their business is a critical new piece of business strategy. Proper governance allows these employees to represent their firm and brand in an appropriate and safe manner.
  • Employee Use of Social: Recruiting the next generation of financial professionals is another important issue for many of our customers. Employees now expect to be able to utilize social media to communicate and work, as illustrated by this quote from Shel Holtz (principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, @shelholtz): “Telling a Millennial to use email is like telling someone 10 years ago to type up a memo and drop it off in the mailroom.” Social business governance enables employees to use the social tools that they want to, which in turn helps organizations recruit Millennials and beyond.
  • Regulations: Particularly for our customers within financial services, regulatory and compliance requirements drive a need for strong governance within those organizations. Without well-defined governance in place, organizations risk running afoul of both existing and emerging regulations.

Improving your governance

The report presented a system for social business governance called the 4 P’s: People, Policy, Process and Practice. It’s a great framework for thinking holistically about your governance; below is a high-level overview of the various components:
Altimeter Social Business Governance Four P's
For a more in-depth exploration of each of the “4 P’s” check out the full report.

The evolution of governance

I’d like to leave you with a great chart from the report, showcasing how an organization evolves its social business governance from a decentralized model to a hub & spoke model.
Altimeter Social Business Governance Evolution
Where is your organization along in its social business evolution? What issues are you grappling with as you build and refine your social business strategy? Let us know in the comments below.

Brian Solis and Clara Shih discuss social content marketing at LinkedIn's #SXSW Influencers Reception

One of the most engaging events of SXSW this year was the LinkedIn Influencer Reception, where Brian Solis, Principal at Altimeter Group, and Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, discussed the value of layering social graphs and relationships on top of content.

Clara Shih, Brian Solis, and Francesca Levy, Editor at LinkedIn

Shih and Solis were two of the earliest thought leaders in using social media for business; in fact, both spoke together on the very first Facebook for business panel at SXSW back in 2009 at the time when social media in the business world was still focused on blogs and wikis. As Shih discussed in this most recent fireside chat, however, “layering identity and relationships on top of content” with social networks helps bring order to the deluge of content now available on the Web.
“We bring order to the chaos and we bring trust to the chaos because we trust our friends, our families, and our colleagues,” said Shih.
The challenge that Clara discussed in this panel is that with social networks, many publishers have started to move away from substantive content and more towards the short-form content shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The most successful influencers, according to Shih, are ones that build trust with their constituencies and use short-form sharing platforms to distribute more substantial pieces of content.
Watch the whole fireside chat below and see photos/tweets from the event:

Webinar: Getting from Social Marketing to a Social Sales Force

How do you go beyond traditional brand marketing to actually generating leads, referrals, and upsell on social media?
Join us on Thursday, March 21 for a great webinar we’ve planned, Getting from Social Marketing to a Social Sales Force, with Altimeter Group partner and analyst Jeremiah Owyang, director of social media for Farmers Insurance Ryon Harms, and Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih.

Every day, a billion people share the most important moments of their lives on social media, from new jobs to newborns — and everything in between. Your own social networks are full of these “social signals” and your competitors are acting on this information in real time. So how do you go beyond basic corporate pages and enable your agent force to sell more?
Join our webinar and learn how to:

  • Activate your entire company on social media
  • Train and onboard a geographically dispersed agent force
  • Amplify and measure brand reach across your people
  • Systematically address governance and regulatory issues

Register now and reserve your seat!

New research report from Altimeter Group: Deploying social media across the enterprise

Another great set of research for social marketers was released today by Jeremiah Owyang and the great team at Altimeter Group: “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation.” Find the full report embedded at bottom.
Hearsay Social is pleased to receive a notable mention along with Radian6 (’s social listening and monitoring service) and to also note that the trends identified by the Altimeter team map directly to the product areas we have invested in over the last two years.
In summary, Altimeter outlines five key findings that hold back businesses from truly becoming social. In spite of these obstacles, marketing and business leaders will find that we laid out the Hearsay Social blueprint to solve all these issues for our customers so you don’t have to worry about them.
Altimeter finding A. Lack of clear goals and strategy.
How Hearsay Social helps: Social media is still evolving, so it makes some sense if you’re still not exactly sure what your goals are. We can help you with that. All our customers receive courtesy strategy engagements because we want you to have a world-class social media program. The social business experts at Hearsay Social have had real impact: reports roll in every day from end users seeing real ROI, like multiplying sales figures.
Altimeter finding B. A struggle to maintain control over an increasing number of social media accounts.
How Hearsay Social helps: You may have already discovered that maintaining just a corporate page, as we noted yesterday for retailers, is only a first step in this maturing stage of social business. As you’ll read below, Hearsay Social already helps many companies onboard several thousands of their employees on social networking sites. Not only that, but the patent-pending Hearsay Social Rogue Page Finder,  helps you find all the social profiles and pages that may already be using your corporate brand name. Maintaining control over large numbers of social media accounts is made easy with Hearsay Social.
Altimeter finding C. Saddled with integration woes.
How Hearsay Social helps: Architected by CTO Steve Garrity (who formerly worked on demand-hungry cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure), the Hearsay Social platform is designed for enterprise scale and integrations. Our platform supports single sign-on, enabling rapid integration into the corporate identity system you already use, and it is pre-built to integrate with common enterprise platforms like Autonomy and email archiving systems.
Altimeter finding D. Unable to provide a coordinated customer experience across a variety of tools.
How Hearsay Social helps: Hearsay Social is built for to solve all your needs. If you’re a CMO looking to create a single gorgeous corporate page, we can help you do that. If you’re already a social business and you want to add your thousands of employees too, we can help you do that as well. And don’t worry about brand confusion or compliance issues going awry. With our four key modules (Content Publisher, Social CRM, Compliance Module, and Analytics), Hearsay Social promises to help you provide a coordinated customer experience, from corporate to local.
Altimeter finding E. Vendors lack full capabilities to satisfy enterprise-class buyers.
How Hearsay Social helps: As said above, Hearsay Social was designed from day one for the very biggest companies, with representatives distributed throughout the nation and world. No fuss for your IT department, no hiccups for your end users.