The 4 Questions: Social Media and a Strategic Plan
A January 1st, 2012 article in the New York Times discussed the four questions that IBM’s outgoing president, Samuel J. Palmisano, developed and strongly adhered to during his highly successful tenure. These four questions (quoted below from the article), are very applicable to almost every business.
• “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?
• Why would somebody work for you?
• Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?
• And why would somebody invest their money with you?”
They are also extremely relevant to social media which, to be successful in this highly competitive marketplace, requires a top-down approach and implementation of a strategic plan.
Although almost all companies have entered the online and social media space in one form or another, much of the adoption of social media has been haphazard. According to a January 5, 2012 Altimeter study of 144 large companies, only 43% of them reported having “a formalized strategy road map that addresses how social will meet specific business goals”. This is in direct contrast to the specific four question approach successfully utilized by IBM.
I recently spoke with a rapidly growing software developer who discussed this point at length. Their answer - when distilled to a few words was essentially, “we’re up on the latest software developments and frankly, we do better work than our competitors – and we can prove it”.
The proof comes from the results of their work along with client testimonials. So, to address the second question, people would work for you because of foresight, utilization of key technologies (when applicable), the quality of your work and demonstrable results – which would also make companies more inclined to hire your company. All of these accomplishments should be highly touted by social media.
Testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals are two of the most effective means of generating attention and business in social media. Their avid discussion and presence can generate enormous buzz, opportunities and sales. It is rumored that Google will – yet again – be modifying their search algorithm this spring to further emphasize these topics of communication.Continued on the next page