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David Nour
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Use Social Strategy To Focus Your Leadership, Board

Get your senior team involved in broadening your base, achieving growth and winning mindshare.

In Return on Impact: Leadership Strategies for the Age of Connected Relationships (ASAE, 2012) I used the example of the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA). The group's critical differentiator is the depth and scope of its educational offerings -- far greater than any of its competitors. However, about 50% of its members are dispersed geographically outside the population-dense Madison/Milwaukee/Green Bay areas, so providing greater access to educational programming is a challenge and a key priority.

WICPA sought member feedback and learned that it could add a great deal of value by compacting and customizing its programming. Today, subject areas such as nonprofits, tax accounting or specific industries organize WICPA's conferences. It is expanding its online educational offerings to serve its distributed population.

WICPA listened to its market, then aligned its talent around the growth opportunity it discovered -- solving its members' problem of access to education. That strategy is generating new value for the existing base, and a compelling value proposition for new members to join WICPA.

Which goal is your strategic priority? Does your organization now include the talent you need to execute on that? You must assemble a critical mass of talent at the board and senior leadership ranks, and align them with the responsibilities and skills required for your growth strategy.

To succeed in the 21st century, social must be a component of your growth strategy, regardless of your approach. Social can be a unique and effective enabler of growth. Give your board and leaders a role in your social strategy. Let them hear directly what the market conversation is saying.

Win Mindshare Among All Key Constituencies

So you've got your leadership team listening, leaning in and driving innovation that creates new value and reaches new markets. Or do you? To be sure you're winning their mindshare, you need a means to measure it. Social analytics are the barometer of how well you're doing. Metrics should measure against agreed-upon objectives and values to help create course corrections along the way. Social analytics should reveal how well you've aligned objectives with strategy, the effectiveness of your implementation process, and how well you're moving your members or customers to their next logical decision point.

Your social strategy must include meaningful metrics. As social media took off, a cottage industry of vendors and platforms for social media measurement appeared -- but too often the tail wagged the dog. Organizations allowed the tools to dictate what they would measure. Only when the organization understands what data is needed can it assess the right class of tools to use. Do your due diligence to put in place the metrics you need to monitor your mindshare among your key constituencies -- customers, the market, employees, key competitors, the media. Share your analytics with your leadership and board, in brief, actionable insights that make key insights stick.

Broadening your base, aligning the right players around the right goals, and winning mindshare are the steps through which your social strategy will enhance the mindset of your senior leadership and your board of directors. Develop a strong listening platform for your leaders and board that gives them clear visibility into the social conversation about your organization and brand. This isn't a suggestion. It's a critical business strategy without which you can expect to fail.


-- Broaden your base by finding customer niches with problems they are willing and able to pay to solve; engage them on social platforms with your compelling content.

-- Specify your growth priorities; assemble and align the critical talent you need to achieve them.

-- Win mindshare among key constituencies; measure and share insights about mindshare with your leaders and board.

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