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15 indicators of “social business” transformation

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Brands & Campaigns

Michael Brito is a vice president at Edelman Digital. He writes frequently in his social media blog and just finished writing his first social business book, “Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization,” which will be released in July.

As organizations begin to show signs of “social business” behaviors, they will begin to experience different levels of cultural change relating to the people in the organization, as well as its processes and technology. The following are 15 indicators of social business transformation. It’s important to realize that while some of these behaviors are dependent on each other, they are distinct and not necessarily in chronological order.


  1. Organizational leadership begins mandating internal teams collaborate across functional business units, geographies, product organizations and channel partners.
  2. CEO and/or executive teams are using social technologies to communicate externally and encouraging employees to do the same.
  3. Social media “Center of Excellence” teams and Social Organization Models start forming.
  4. Global/functional teams are sharing best practices frequently; organizational silos become nonexistent.
  5. Social behaviors become ingrained in the everyday fabric of employees’ workflow and process.
  6. Social business becomes a consistent line item in marketing, operations and IT budgets.
  7. Human resources adds “social media” in job descriptions, and employees are held accountable.


  1. Governance models are created, published and shared across the organization, providing a process for new employees to be trained to be social media practitioners.
  2. Social media policies and guidelines are co-created by senior management and employees.
  3. Consistent social media measurement frameworks are agreed upon and used to measure both internal and external social initiatives.
  4. Workflows are created to collect external customer feedback and filter it back to the product organizations.


  1. Internal communities and collaboration systems are deployed and are being used across functional business units —  sales, marketing, customer support, supply chain management, etc.
  2. Collaboration is happening more within internal communities than in e-mail.
  3. Social CRM capabilities, applications and systems become a priority in management and deployment.
  4. IT loosens up firewall restrictions (bandwidth, IP blocking)  of social media usage from behind the firewall.

Every company is different and will experience the transition to becoming a social business in different ways and at different times.  These indicators will help business leaders assess their own organizations and start thinking about humanizing their operations in order to more effectively engage with the social customer.

Photo credit: DNY59, via iStockphoto