How to achieve social media strategy success

Are you working on a social media strategy for your organisation? Do you know where to start or are you looking for advice and guidance?

I’ve just finished reading a book that centres around a framework and promises to offer “a unique and comprehensive end-to-end approach” – taking a company from the point of understanding the value of social media for business to the point of implementing a solution that meets business needs. It may be just what you need to help guide you through to make your social media strategy a success.

The book was written by Kamales Lardi, who I had the pleasure of meeting back in the summer when she was in London from Switzerland and we were both attending Brian Solis’ B2B Huddle at Microsoft.

Social Media StrategyShe is a business consultant and Managing Partner at Lardi & Partner Consulting GmbH, and after discovering a mutual love of all things communication and social media, she kindly offered to send me a copy of her brand new book: Social Media Strategy: A Step-by-step Guide to Building Your Social Business.

Kamales has co-edited the book alongside Dr Rainer Fuchs, who is a product management expert and lecturer at the ZHAW School of Management and Law.

It includes contributions from his colleagues at ZHAW: research associates Armin Ledergerber and Rolf Rellstab, plus three senior lecturers: Sandro GrafDr. Teresa Valerie Mandl and Dr. Heike Rawitzer.

I liked the fact the book caters to all tastes and experience of using social media as it enables readers to look at what is available and make smart choices based on industry, competitive landscape, organisational culture and specific needs.

One of the key strengths I think this book has is the huge focus on context. As in just because you hear of a similar organisation to yours using a certain platform for their enterprise social network, for example, doesn’t mean if you simply copy what they have done, it will be right for you.

I have this conversation constantly with people in my network and clients – it’s all about the nuances of your company, your culture and making smart choices that fit based on those elements and much more.

Who’s the book for?
I think it’s ideal for every stage of your social media journey, particularly as it’s written in a jargon-free way to help readers grasp the various elements it describes. If you’re studying, Social Media Strategy: A Step-by-step Guide to Building Your Social Business will be invaluable as it’s packed with pages of useful statistics and references for further reading and tips.

Both internal and external communication are examined and the final chapter is worth reading the book for alone as it highlights case studies and lessons learned and I like the way it introduces them:

Grasping a field that is as dynamic as well as creative and inspirational in nature as social media demands more than a stringent “how-to” process. Ambitious users are well advised to orient themselves to existing benchmarks in order to learn from others who have been successful in this field.”

How does the book help?
It has an online platform that I recommend as it’s a useful resource and case studies continue to be uploaded there. You can find it at:

Case studies include:

Innovation management at IBM

Social media customer service at SWISS

Excellent customer service at EuRail

The step-by-step framework

You can see a visual representation of the framework detailed in the book on this page and online.  Its aim is to “enable you to identify the best areas in your business to apply social media for maximum benefit and is achieved by aligning social media activities to your strategic objectives.”



It is distinguished by several elements:

  • Focuses on building a sustainable use for social media along the business value chain
  • Aligns with company strategic objectives and business context
  • Identifies key elements to create a strong foundation for social media use in the company
  • Separates internal and external social media uses
  • Is not a technology implementation

What do you think of it? Have you used something similar? Do let me know your thoughts below or you can tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Delivering initiatives
One chapter I think is pertinent for internal comms pros is chapter three. It looks at Planning and delivering enterprise collaboration initiatives and includes thoughts by Rolf Rellstab.

It highlights key changes in business environments including: new generation workforce, information overload, cross-region collaboration, private use of social media and keeping up with competition.

Stand-out information for me includes: “What makes a company a truly social enterprise is not just the deployment of an enterprise collaboration platform, but the long-term vision of creating a work environment that is networked, connected and integrated with emerging technologies like social networking, mobility and videoconferencing.

The goal of a social enterprise should be to provide a work environment that crosses organisational, regional and time-boundaries, effectively allowing employees to work to the best of their abilities from anywhere, at any time, with the best working tools available. Admittedly, this is a tall order. However, in light of the increasing impact or disruption social technologies are causing in the business world, adopting an integrated solution might not be a choice anymore.

The chapter includes a table of categories and examples for enterprise collaboration platforms that I tweeted last week and have included below.

One of my most read articles is who is using what for internal social media, which is a collection of 250+ case studies I have collated and it’s vital to not only know what is around to choose from, but to understand their primary purpose, which I think this book does well.















I’m going to leave you with some final thoughts from Social Media Strategy: A Step-by-step Guide to Building Your Social Business and I thoroughly recommend reading it. I know I will be referring back to it as it’s not a one-read-book, but a useful reference for years to come.

Kamales says: “A key point to note is that a Social Media Strategy differs from a Social Media Marketing strategy. The former determines if social media aligns with your business goals, and where it could be applicable in your business operations. The latter, part of the existing marketing and branding campaign, aims to utilise external social media channels to position the organisation in the market.”

“The best way to successfully apply social media for business is to have a clear understanding of why it is needed, what it will be used for and who the target audience are. Many companies bypass this step and go straight to setting up presence on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This is a tactical approach that is less effective over time and produces little business impact. A social media strategy is not only crucial to clarify the reasons for applying social media, how it could potentially benefit the business and create sustainable benefits, but also assesses the readiness of the company to use (for example does the company have the right capabilities, processes, policies etc. in place to manage risks).”

Final thought: Social business
I’ve been writing about social business a fair bit this year and you can find some of the articles I’ve written below. I also recommend listening to a new podcast featuring Andrew Grill, former CEO of Kred and now at IBM, talking about social business with Neville Hobson. It’s worth a listen:

The state and evolution of social business in 2013 – written by me
Defining social business – written by me
Attenzi: a social business story – written by me

Tip: See the hashtag #socbiz on Twitter for more information about social business.

Post author: Rachel Miller

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