The 5 steps to becoming a social business

mobile phone releasing social media icons

As a business owner, you now have the power to define why you are in business, what’s important to you about what you do, and use that clarity and passion to transparently connect with an almost infinite number of your ideal clients.

Everywhere we look online there is someone talking up ‘social business’, but almost all of the conversation seems to be rhetoric used to hype up social media and encourage business owners to pay for some kind of service. While there is most certainly a social business revolution, it’s not a story about social media. Rather, the story is about how leveraged communication is setting free the most valuable assets of a business; its people.

The power isn’t in the hands of marketers or SEO experts – it’s in the hands of business owners and their teams. As a business owner, you now have the power to define why you are in business, what’s important to you about what you do, and use that clarity and passion to transparently connect with an almost infinite number of your ideal clients.

So how exactly do you start the process of turning your business into the new breed of social enterprise and have your ideal clients lining up at the door?

Step 1) Define the ‘Why’ of your business.

Instead of thinking about ‘marketing’, start thinking about Why you are doing what you do, what your unique vision and passion is, and what you believe in. Social media is the antidote to our overly cluttered ‘information-overloaded’ lives because it lets people make decisions based on what they believe in, relate to and have in common with their social network (both physical and digital).

Stop listening to the ‘gurus’ who are trying to show you how to clutter social media with ‘content’ and ‘campaigns’ and instead give your clients what they really want; the ability to easily see Why they should do business with you.

Step 2) If you want to get connected, then be connected

Reflect what you have defined in Step 1 into everything that you do. Encapsulate it into the way you speak to clients, what you write on your website, the causes you support, the tweets you post and the Facebook updates you create.

Trust me it’s what your clients have always wanted; the ability to very simply make a decision about who they are doing business with. This step applies whether you run an ice cream shop or are the CEO of a global company.

Step 3) Empower your team

Let your team live the Why but you must also empower them with the context of how that relates to their own Why. A sense of relevance is the number one determinant of the fulfilment and therefore commitment of your team (and also has a 100 percent correlation to your exponential growth as a social business).

You can’t outsource yourself and neither should you outsource the ‘doing’ until you actually understand what you are asking someone to do. This is your business and vision – its future needs to be in your hands.

Step 4) Educate yourself and your team about digital and social media

The reason that social media platforms have billions of users is because they are so simple to use if people just try. My initial success from the application of the above philosophies was on an original internet bulletin board…it wasn’t possible because of advanced technology or any kind of special ‘platform’.

Hiding your head in the sand about social media is like closing the door, disconnecting your phone and hanging up a ‘closed for business sign’. Shortcut your learning by finding those who not only know what they are talking about, but can show you the results to prove it.

Then surround yourself with other social businesses to learn from and swap with.

Step 5) Build a real plan and set yourself and your business free

Each business has its own nuances and where the best return will come from your time and effort is unique, so build a plan that prioritises the right things and get someone to hold you accountable for it.

Dive in, spread your message, connect with your clients and put yourself and your business ‘out there’ enough that your ideal clients will see what makes both you and your business unique. Remember this is about the ‘social’ not the ‘media’ and you can’t learn about building relationships, client communities and have raving happy followers without diving in and learning to swim yourself.