Beyond Marketing: How Social Leaders Are Transforming Business

 This isn’t about marketing or this isn’t about the social media specialist.


This is about line of business leaders making real impact across the business.


This is about how social leaders in different departments are transforming how businesses recruit talent, develop products, sell offerings, do R&D, manage supply chains, run operations.


#SocialLeaders are the emerging leaders activating communities to co-create and collaborate forward, transforming business models, rethinking processes, eliminating obsolescence.

What’s the biggest impact of social to an organization?
Culture. Culture is a function of participation and interaction between people in a group. Even for organizations where everyone is in the same building, social acts as a catalyst to shape, reinforce and evolve culture. A social leader can influence and lead this activity by role modeling the interaction and open discussion in the social platforms. What happens is that employees are then better able to take this culture and manifest it externally with customers and partners through their face-to-face interactions and through the external social networks of influence. With social, culture gets stronger, and the more it gets stronger, the more consistently the organization manifests the core values of the culture in how business is done and how the brand comes to life.

(1) Recruiting Talent: How is social leadership transforming how businesses recruit talent?
Being found. Social leaders tremendously impact the recruitment of top talent by attracting talent that is aligned with their vision, mission and style. Conversely, by authoring and publishing unique thought leadership content, top talent makes themselves findable. Recruiting connections goes both ways – in social platforms, the talent finds you and you can find the talent.

(2) Product Development / R&D: Product innovation through social? How does that happen?
Better. What I’ve observed, and what I’ve seen documented in many case studies, is that product teams using social are able to ideate faster, test releases faster, expand the pool of user-oriented benefits and find new/better approaches to solving problems. From open dialog and exchange of feedback, to open crowdsourced contests where people external to the organization develop algorithms and code, social platforms and communities open new doors to new ideas. Social leaders can leverage social to fundamentally change how product development is done in organizations with best-in-class offerings.

(3) R&D: How is social accelerating R&D and tapping new sources of innovation?
Outside the box. R&D is no longer constrained to the internal brain power and talent inside the organization. With R&D, much like with product development, organizations are now tapping into focused, goal oriented, crowdsourced contests to develop new designs, new algorithms and new data analyses. Social leaders are further leveraging social to accelerate research with peer reviews, peer testing and connecting to expertise in new fields to bring diverse perspectives and approaches to problem solving – translating thinking across disciplines that would otherwise never interact. For several case study examples and expanded how-tos in this area, I highly recommend reading Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

(4) Supply Chains: Supply chain optimization has been about analytics, how is social opening new transformation?
Realtime. While supply chain operations and management has, for the past couple decades, focused on greater efficiencies through analytics, today, social is enabling new gain. With social platforms, people, rather than data systems, are able to connect, communicate and coordinate in realtime based on variations or unexpected interruptions in the chain of linkages of goods and materials. Algorithms are fantastic at optimizing… people are great at creative collaborating. It’s about enhancing existing systems with realtime human inputs and communication.

(5) Operations: The back office is stepping forward with social to speed up the flow of business, reduce costs and streamline reporting… how?
Breaking out. Operations is often viewed as a back-office activity – people focused on spreadsheets, data and reporting. Social is changing this, enabling the back office to connect and engage the front office. Led by social leaders, operations can now co-iterate on processes to identify what is slowing down business and what is creating bottlenecks; and both sides can c0-create solutions to eliminate these roadblocks so that the business can, collectively, be go faster and with more responsiveness to changing external conditions. The same applies with reporting, where decision makers are able to connect and collaborate with operations on easier access to reporting and to zero in on what reporting enables the business to make better decisions. The gains here can be substantial.

I hope this helps to provide some better insight into how social and social leaders can bring real and significant impact to all aspects and departments within a business or organization. The real value is in achieving real business outcomes.

This article was reposted with permission from the author.

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About the Author:

Jim Claussen is a Senior Strategy Manager for Social Business at IBM and the founder of He is really interested in helping people and organizations lead, influence and amplify in today’s digital and connected economy, to make a bigger, more positive impact. When Jim’s not bloggingpodcasting or coaching to re-imagine the enterprise, he’s usually doing something active outside with his family.

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Beyond Marketing: How Social Leaders Are Transforming Business