How to get results through social networks

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It’s been a while I haven’t shared one of my “paper” readings. The most interesting book I’ve read these last months is Driving Results Through Social Networks: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks for Performance and Growth.

Businesses are now getting very interested in social networks, making the same mistakes they often did with communities : having a stactic and sometimes erroneous vision. Which leads to predictable results : “we don’t understand”, “where’s the ROI”, “what would make people use this software”….

It’s now time for businesses to understand that :

• Social Networks were not born with the softwares and services that wear the same same and that are only catalysts. It’s the way people have been actually working for a long time. Your company is full of social networks even if no employee has a computer.

• Social networks are not tangles of people who link together and share (or not) information. It’s a way of working in order to get things done. We talk too much of Facebook although business networks are different, have their own rules and purposes.

• Social Networks are not static things that are deployed and set up, they are changing, living things, which internal activity is not predictable.

The reason why I advise anyone who is interested in improving his staff’s collective and individual performance is ;

• because it clearly explains what social network are, what are their characteristics and their players.

• because it relies on many cases showing how some businesses are getting the most from it. I especially like the parts about sales and onboarding issues.

• because it puts numbers on their impact on results.

As a matter of fact, that’s not because these networks are informal by nature that companies should neglect or, worse, fight them. There are methodologies allowing to understand how social networks work within companies, to identify the key players, to track how value is created through them in order to take the most of them. And try to develop them where they are necessary.

I like the example that show that one’s contribution to value creation is not related to his position but may result from his central role in a network or between two networks.

Moreover, I’m surprised by the number of companies that lauch social network projects without having tried to understand their current role in their organziation and try to build some starting from scratch and replicated their org chart while failing to analyze what’s the current situation and needs. Some ONA (organizational networl analysis) would be very useful to channel efforts toward what really matters, creates value and to rely on the right players.

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Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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