To lead in this century requires different steps than in the last. You must use your social strategy to enhance the mindset of your senior leadership and your board of directors.
This involves three tasks:
-- Broadening your base.
-- Assembling and aligning the critical mass of talent in your organization to achieve your growth priorities.
-- Winning mindshare among all your key constituencies.
I'm writing this as a follow up to my recent post on the Relationship Economics blog, "Use Your Social Strategy for Return on Impact," about how to lead in the age of connected relationships.
Here is how to execute on those three tasks:
Broaden Your Base
World-class organizations create engagement by focusing their market outreach on delighting customers. Your most profitable members, sponsors or customers all have strong emotional bonds with your organization. You must consistently recognize and strengthen these bonds. How do you emotionally engage and build a trusting relationship with individuals you cannot interact with in person? You have to think differently about engagement. You know your individual buyers are smart and getting smarter -- they're engaged in social networks where they are learning from every interaction that delivers recommendations.
Each buyer draws on that network to interact, form relationships, make decisions and buy products and services -- all to solve the problems that keep them from doing what they want to do.
To broaden your base, find groups of individuals who have problems that are driving them crazy, and who are willing and able to pay for solutions to solve those problems. Engage them on social platforms. How? With compelling content. Your customers/members lean in to the conversations that promise to connect them with interesting people and ideas. Daily, low-cost interactivity gives them compelling reasons to come back frequently, become engaged and involved.
Deliver real value to people looking for "who can I meet?" and "what can I learn?" Become a student of your market's problems, and bring your leaders and board into the conversation so they can engage with the members, partners and external knowledge assets. Leaders listen and learn.
Assemble And Align Critical Talent To Achieve Growth Priorities
In your organization, regardless of its size or governance structure, you have growth strategies. Approaches vary by industry, business segment and circumstances. Organizations achieve growth either by offering its existing value to new members/customers, or through offering new value to existing members/customers.
What most consumers don't want is more of the same. Over time, existing offerings lose their attraction and become commoditized. Any organization that isn't broadening its base must find new value to offer that base, or it will lose ground. Any organization that offers existing value to new customers will broaden its base, but find it difficult to hold the ground it gains unless it can also develop innovations that bring new value to that base consistently over time.