Strategies, Policies & Engagement

Background, Business, Social, Web 2.0



Let’s talk, evolve and make some money

Web 2.0 is really doing some revolutionary things and I say this taking into consideration how it allows every individual involved in a business, be it executives, stakeholders, workers and consumers to engage with one another through social software. Never before, as far as I know, could a consumer chat directly to a business on a regular basis or voice their opinions about a product that helps businesses to make lucrative changes. Web 2.0 has certainly forged the way for businesses to move beyond simply listening and analysing their target markets to now connecting with their target market in a way that ultimately benefits their objectives, generates a return on investment and encourages a coming together of sorts. 

Social Media Strategy = Using technology to purposefully reinforce a business’ dealings.

Understanding the pressure society innately places on businesses to implement social media into their practices and how social media platforms can actually work to benefit a business’ equity, businesses should apply a strategic approach to their social engagement so that they not only achieve their profit seeking goals and triumph over their competitors but also connect with their audience in a more relevant way. Embracing platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn to connect internally and externally, businesses are able to function in a unique manner that challenges the status quo. 

When using social media theorist Larry Weber said that businesses should have a clear and strategic process that is “both linear and iterative. It starts with setting strategic goals for social engagement programs and continues sequentially through design, activation, and sustainment, followed by measurement and analytics.” In doing this a business can also avoid wasting time and public relation disasters.

Weber went on to say that one of the core notions (one that I genuinely love) a business should think about re social engagement is that “the spirit of establishing this group* is not to control social engagement. Rather, the goals are to foster collaboration, to share knowledge across functions, and to reduce enterprise’ processing and reacting times to enhance community engagement and strategy formulation and execution.” So as important as it is for businesses to rule their social engagement, making sure they’re not being portrayed inappropriately to the public, they also need to understand that social engagement is much bigger than their self-serving ideas. It is about using technology to eradicate information silos, embrace culture, and to be open, transparent, collaborative and innovative.

Social Business Strategy

According to analysts Carlene Li and Brian Solis, social business strategy is “the integration of social technologies and processes into business values, processes, and practices to build relationship and spark conversations inside and outside the organization, creating value and optimizing impact for customers and the business alike.” Ok, so in my mind a social business strategy is therefore an approach businesses use to incorporate social channels into their workflow so they can make stronger connections within their organisation and the outside world, including enhancing their social orientation.

The two strategies, social media and social business, are somewhat different. I’ve come to understand that the social media strategy focuses on the technology involved in a business’ strategy to become a social business. Solis explained that a social business strategy often gets confused with a social media strategy, yet they are rather two distinct approaches. He said the word “social” is merely a common attribute found in both strategies, “social is an adjective that describes the nature of channels, networks, or platforms that facilitate conversations online. When placed ahead of business, social articulates a philosophy or approach. In this case, “social business” is a philosophy; a way of business where social technologies supported by new approaches facilitate a more open, engaged, collaborative foundation for how we work.”


  • Social media strategy = Technologically advanced platforms
  • Social business strategy = Philosophy
  • Together = Technologically advanced platforms are used to sustain philosophy


Look at it this way


Elements of a Social Business Strategy

As discussed by Li and Silos, below are the six elements business’ need to exercise in order to grow socially.

  • Planning: Prepare themselves to listen and learn
  • Presence: Stake their claims and establish their aura within chosen social channels
  • Engagement: Understand that their conversations internally and externally via technology will deepen their relationships
  • Formalised: Organize their conversations to scale so that they have a coherent voice across platforms
  • Strategic: Become a social business by integrating technologies into their practices
  • Converged: Consider and appreciate their business as a social entity


The maturity matrix

In layman terms I would say this is how a business can get their social media and social business strategies rolling…they need to:

  • Consider their core goals
  • Design measurable objectives
  • Identify their target market
  • Acknowledge their competition and what social engagement tactics they are using
  • Create effective key messages
  • Select suitable social channels, ones that would best reach their identified target market
  • Train their employees so that they are able to use social media safely
  • Monitor social engagement
  • Use social metrics to evaluate their online activity


The way to do 1.0


The way to go 1.1

The Success Factors of a Social Business Strategy

There are also seven success factors, according to Li and Silos (clever souls) that increases a business’ potential value when implemented and continued throughout the development stages of their social business strategy.


Successful steps to take


*Those that support and carry out the social engagement process.


Brian Solis. (2014). Q&A: The 7 Success Factors Of Social Business Strategy. Retrieved from

Entrepreneur. (2016). How to Build a Social-Media Strategy That Works. Retrieved from

 Weber, L. (2011). Building enterprise-wide engagement capability in Everywhere: Comprehensive digital business strategy for the social media era (pp. 59-86). Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.




Online Communities & CoPs

Background, Business, Future, Take action, Web 2.0


I like this concept a lot…it encourages collaboration.

Online Communities

An online community is a virtual village. It is a group of people, a virtual team who connects online via today’s technologically advanced means and talk about topics that interest the group as whole. They primarily convene by the means of the Internet and those who desire to become a member usually have to sign up to a specific site or application* in order to play an active role in the community. Online communities can function as an information system where individuals can post, comment on discussions, offer their opinion and collaborate. Without at doubt this type of community totally evolved out of Web 2.0’s digitally connective nature. Don’t you think?

Communities of Practice (CoPs)

A Communities of Practice is essentially the key to elevating a business’ performance and is a powerful marketing tool. It involves networks of individuals “who share a concern or a passion for something they do” and who desire to “learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” CoPs are created by people who connect in the process of communal learning and in a shared domain of human endeavor for example, a group of foreigners learning to how to exist in a New Zealand or musicians who are keen on understanding how a new instrument works. However not all communities are CoP, we must remember this as CoP requires a form of intentional learning.

Educational theorist, Etienne Wenger believes that there are three characteristics that are crucial to a CoP to which they also help identify the difference between a community and CoP. He goes as far to say that before a community can even be viewed as a CoP they would need to adhere and display a combination of these three characteristics. Here you have them…

Domain: A CoP is not simply a group of friends but needs to be identified as being a community that has a shared domain of interest. The individuals in the group may not know one other personally but are connected and committed to one another through their mutual field of concern. Within a domain, members value their shared expertise and the ability to learn from one another.

Community: In sustaining their domain, members of a CoP need to come together and interact and learn from one another. Wenger said, “members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other; they care about their standing with each other.” The individuals in the community may not work together on a daily basis however what creates and supports their community is their joint learning and connectivity.

Practice: Those who are in a CoP are otherwise known as practitioners. So a CoP is not solely founded on a shared interest but also a shared practice, where members unite to develop a shared collection of resources such as past encounters, stories, tools and ways of addressing common problems. The exchange of information and shared experiences between practitioners is what undergirds their community.

Domain, community and practice are essential attributes that gives life to a CoP.

According to Wenger a CoP normally involves these kind of activities:

  • Problem solving
  • Request for information
  • Seeking experience
  • Reusing assets
  • Coordinating and interaction
  • Building an argument
  • Growing confidence
  • Discussing developments
  • Documenting projects
  • Visiting locations of interest
  • Mapping knowledge and identifying gaps
  • Creating new ideas

Looking at these activities…are you in CoP? I would have say that they are all really profitable actions because they all either create or sustain knowledge and in my eyes that is a good thing. I believe a society with healthful CoPs is a society full of life and creativity.

In my mind the core difference between an online community and a CoP is the way that they literally converse. You see those who belong to an online community don’t necessarily see each other face to face, whereas members of a CoP usually come together in person. However, as our lecturer David P best explained the “distinction between the terms ‘online communities’ and ‘communities of practice’ has blurred in recent times due in part to the explosion of online communities facilitated by social media technologies.” Technology and interactive platforms like social media applications have really shaken things up and that is why I honestly believe aspects of the CoP are slowly becoming irrelevant as they merge into the online community sphere and embrace more and more of Web 2.0 world. Wouldn’t you guys agree?

Benefits and Limitations

Online Community Benefits

  • Gives members the power to disseminated their messages globally and across the Internet
  • It is inclusive
  • Breeds and encourages acceptance, validation and sense of belonging It Expands Makes room for creativity and collaboration
  • Creates and expands conversations
  • Empowers all members and supports freedom of speech


OC pros

 Online Community Limitations

  • There is a lack of face-to-face contact between members in an online community.
  • Members don’t really have an individual or personally identity, therefore it’s difficult for members in an online community to create genuine relationships with others in the group.
  • It’s challenging to build strong connections and commitment. With an online community members can miss out on the emotional bond that occurs when interacting in a physical space or when using tangible objects, thus making membership rather casual.

CoP Benefits

  • Allow employees to manage change
  • Provides access to new knowledge
  • Cultivates trust and a sense of common purpose
  • Adds value to professional lives
  • Creates knowledge and encourages skill development
  • Uses information management to drive strategy
  • Disseminate valuable information and transfer best practice
  • Initiate new lines of business including new products and services
  • Facilitate rapid responses to customer needs and problems
  • Decrease the learning curve for new employees
  • Help companies recruit and retain talent

CoP Limitations

  • Time Demands and constraints: In order for CoP to be successful and to reap the fruit from their conversations and actions they need time and sustained interaction.
  • Organisational Hierarchies: CoP within an organisation may contradict its actual intention to be informal and break down the walls of pride, intellect and power. Scholar Steven Kerno explained, “if the majority of individuals within an organization are more concerned with maintaining and adhering to the organization chart and its hierarchical ordering than with maximizing organizational performance…than the “status quo” will prevail and community of practice efforts are not likely to produce any substantive progress or benefits. Worse, they may be perceived as several previous organizational “fads” that failed to realize their potential.”
  • Culture: CoPs are a social design and so they reflect the wider social structures, institutional and national culture that they exist in. The result of this is that CoPs innately generate cultural differences** between organisational CoPs that may hinder their overall effectiveness.

On the whole, the benefits of a CoP truly validate its relevancy to a business strategy. Businesses can integrate and utilise a CoP to elevate their objectives, genuinely connect with their employees and train them in a more transparent manner that generates a healthy environment of sharing and learning information across hierarchal structures.

*Like a video game, blog or their work’s intranet site

**Conformity, individualism, social expectation and interactivity modes


Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice: A brief introduction

Kerno, S. (2008). Limitations of communities of practice. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 15, 69-77. Retrieved from

 McDermott, R. & Archibald, D. (Mar 2010). Harnessing your staff’s informal networks. Harvard Business Review, 88(3), 82-89. 

Mitchell, J., & Wood, S. (2001). Benefits of Communities of Practice. Retrieved from




Social Capital & Trust

Background, Future, Personal development


These are some of the SC attributes

Social Capital 

This concept refers to the networks of relationships between people who live and work in a specific culture. It relates to the personal associations people have within their communal sphere and encompasses the norms, trust and systems that exist within a group. Social capital allows individuals to work effectively, both independently and collectively, and helps people to possess better lives.

Social capital is also a pretty cool theory as it enables supportive, emotional and personal factors to be shared through bonding and bridging relationships. Let me explain…

Bonding social capital comes from an inward-looking social network and normally occurs between an individual and those who are super close to them like a family member or good mate. Bonding social capital is an intimate form of social capital and provides individuals with emotional support, which in the end helps them to function in the world in a more satisfying way.

Bridging social capital on the other hand is related to a larger network of people. It is considered to be a more significant form of social capital as benefits an individual’s overall economic and social development. Bridging social capital is important because it gives individuals access to different people, different information and different social networks beyond their immediate bonding circle.

Watch this somewhat odd and witty clip for more info on social capital:

Do you know anyone with a pump?


Here’s another SC example

Social Capital, Trust and Social Media within Organisations

One of the core things to note is that social capital is about building trust. So in the context of an organisation’s use of social media…social media is a platform that encourages social capital (and therefore the building of trusting relationships) and social capital can help organisations enhance their relationships, functionality and overall brand equity. Social media enables organisations to elevate their social capital since it supports interactivity, synchronous communication and freedom of speech. This means that social media can actually be used to build trusting relationships between an organisation and their employees and customers.

That being said, trust is a difficult thing to exercise across social media because technology inhibits our ability to assess those we’re talking via social channels. And so that is why I guess Theorist’s Kennedy and Sakaguchi said, the “future of the Internet may require faith in humanity”, as organisations nowadays are required to apply a moralistic or generalised trust towards individuals in order to attain and improve their social capital.

 Issues and Challenges of Social Media

  • Psychological Impacts*: It influences the way we think and respond. Our intellect and actions are now intrinsically dictated by the way we use technology. We no longer accept the traditional process of using our brains but desire to have instant answer to questions, which we can easily access through the Internet.
  • Privacy/Big Brother: Employers can now invade employees’ privacy through actively monitoring their Internet and e-mail activity. This action however erodes trust and lowers morale, commitment and performance within an organisation.
  • Bad behaviour can also go unnoticed via social media, as supervising one’s online activity can be rather demanding operation for an organisation to sustain

However, there are also some good reasons for employers to monitor their employees:

  • To protect their legal liabilities
  • To checking if employees are doing the work they should be, without being distracted by the Internet or their private Facebook feed
  • To make sure private and confidential documents are not being transmitted and disseminated in an inappropriate way

 It is very important for an organisation to address these issues and challenges as time equals money** and one bad act online could ruin their reputation. Having said that organisations need to find the right balance between being a watchdog and allowing their employees to use social media to generate revenue.

 Culture and the Adoption of Social Media

Culture plays a big role in the process of change yet today we have a workforce full of millennials who are highly technologically orientated and executives who are not so keen on using interactive technology akin to social media due to the influence it may have on their productivity and security.

Christine Eberle, a contributor to the influential book called The Social Media Management Handbook, stated in a podcast that organisations need to strike a balance between accepting social platforms into their workplace/workflows and nurturing a corporate environment, where all the different voices can be heard. Eberle believes that if organisations actually opened their arms to today’s technologically advanced culture they could move their organisation in the right progressive direction.

To wrap up…social media scholar, Andrew Miller said, “the more rigid an organization’s internal controls are for workflow the more likely that social media adoption is being fought.” This makes me think…how long can an organisation like this exist in today’s culture that is heavily influenced by technology? What do you guys reckon?

Social Capital

You can’t resist technology!

*Here are some poignant quotes from the very thought provoking article called Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet is doing to our brains by Nicholas Carr (such a good read)

  • “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
  • “In the past the man has been first” and “in the future the system must be first.”
  • “The Internet is a machine designed for the efficient and automated collection, transmission, and manipulation of information, and its legions of programmers are intent on finding the “one best method”—the perfect algorithm—to carry out every mental movement of what we’ve come to describe as knowledge work.”
  • “In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.”

**Employers don’t want employees wasting their company time or looking at their personal mobiles when they should be working. They also may not want to be associated to some of the things their employees are connected to via their private social media accounts, therefore employers have to be diligent and make sure they ethically monitor their employees use of social media when at work.


Kennedy, M. & Sakaguchi, T.  (2009).  Chapter XII Trust in social networking: Definitions from a global, culture viewpoint.  In C. Romm-Livermore & K. Setzekorn. Social networking communities and e-dating services: Concepts and implications (pp. 225-238).  Hershey, NY: Information Science Reference.

Miller, A. (2011). Cultural barriers to organizational social media adoption. In J. Girard & J. Girard (Eds.), social knowledge: Using social media to know what you know (pp. 96-114). Hershey, PA: doi: 10.4018/978-1-60960203-1.ch006


World Vision

A non-profit organisation and social media, Business value report


World Vision is a global non-profit organisation that endeavours to eliminate poverty and the causes of destitution across the world. Based on Christian values, the heart of their dealings is to create a united force that overcomes poverty and develops prosperous futures for the world’s most defenceless children. Their major initiative known as the 40 Hour Famine challenges participants to sacrifice something they value, such as food or technology, in order to raise awareness and funds to resolve global hunger.


As a non-profit organisation, World Vision relies primarily on public donations to accomplish their humanitarian objectives and is able to do so through the utilisation of social media and digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, a webpage and blog. Social software enables World Vision to disseminate their charitable messages and connect with an audience around the world in an economical and effective way. It is evident that World Vision not only embraces the workings of Web 2.0 and its tools to benefit their non-profit activities, but also executes Niall Cook’s four-category classification model to speak to their public in an appropriate manner that persuades them to contribute and make a difference in an impoverished child’s life.



World Vision uses social media to broadcast personal and psychologically moving stories of children who are in poverty-stricken situations and need help. They take advantage of Web 2.0’s flexible, simple and lightweight nature to influence viewers, causing them to respond to their appeals and get involved in their community projects. Information Technology specialist Joey Barnal stated, “Web 2.0 had created a paradigm shift to delivering services that can be used and combined with other services in new ways”, it enabled users to “actively participate and contribute” to the online world and “foster a collective community” (2009). Barnal further articulated that Web 2.0 allowed users to “create, edit, rate, and tag content at will” and provide “other users with new information” (2009). World Vision acknowledges Barnal’s description of Web 2.0 and implements its tools such as Instagram to extend their altruistic messages. For instance, on March 10th, 2016, World Vision posted an image of an underprivileged Syrian boy on their Instagram feed and commented, “13 year old Ali is missing out on school. He spends his days selling tissues on the streets of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to help support his family.” In doing this, they provided their Instagram followers with an opportunity to comment and forward their post to other people, therefore enhancing their brand image, awareness and ideals. This post would have also worked to increase social interactivity, showcase the types of activities World Vision participates in, inform potential donors of the heartrending situations impoverished children were facing and create stronger relationships with new or standing supporters. Overall, Web 2.0 is a platform for transparent and synchronous exchange, which permits World Vision to remove the walls that would usually inhibit people from seeing the realities that deprived children face.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 5.26.36 PM

World Vision also adheres to Cook’s 4C’s, communication, cooperation, collaboration and connection, in order to capitalise on the appropriate social software that is freely accessible to them and sustain their non-profit ethos. The 4C’s concentrate on the literal action involved in using social software tools rather than its characteristics, as it is the actions that ultimately benefit an organisation’s culture. Cook explained, “communication platforms are those that allow people to converse with others” (2008, p. 37) and this is evident through World Vision’s great use of social media, which allows them to speak and interact with their audience in an informal manner. The communication action enables World Vision to overtly demonstrate their humanitarian approach to raising awareness and funds; it allows those who have received help from the organisation to articulate their experience and inspire individuals to make a donation. Moreover, seeing that communication is one of social media’s essential traits, World Vision takes advantage of this action by expressing their emotions and purpose via social media, fulfilling their supporters need to be part of their charitable deeds, and building trust between their organisation and donors.

Cook goes onto to explain, even though cooperation and collaboration are somewhat distinctive actions they “both share the objective of enabling a group of individuals to produce something better than that which they could have produced alone” (2008, p. 37). Cooperation and collaboration are implemented in a more formal way compared to communication and connection, and this is because they both require a formal structure and higher level of interaction between individuals. As a result, World Vision eludes these two actions from their social media activity and focuses on the two informal actions, communication and connection, as their culture is essentially based on an interpersonal structure. Cook articulated, “An organisation with an informal structure and a culture that rewards individual effort may prefer to invest in social software to support communication” (2008, p. 37), and this is what World Vision endeavours to do. The social software they employ supports their desire to commune and connect with the public. Connection relates to the direct interaction between individuals and according to Cook the networking of “technologies make it possible for people to make connections with and between both content and other people” (2008, p. 37). World Vision thrives on social media’s connective nature as it strengthens their ability to find and keep donors. For example, World Vision ambassador Kimberley Crossman used the World Vision blog to personally connect with donors and followers. She was able to witness and communicate what World Vision was doing with the funds that they were given, and transmit her observations through pictures and a personal testimony. Her blog post painted a picture for the reader, which helped them to understand the horrific conditions the Syrian children were living in and how “World Vision was responsible for setting up the washroom and bathrooms for each village”, including how they were “making child friendly spaces” (Crossman, 2016). In essence, World Vision’s blog is employed to make an authenticate connection with the public.

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As a non-profit organisation, World Vision is focused on seeking the fiscal means to nourish the lives of helpless children. They acknowledge that social media is a cost-effective approach to achieving their charitable objectives, however I believe they also need to consider the constant upkeep and monitoring of content that is required when using social software. Furthermore, they need to be aware of the security and sovereignty of their data, including social media’s two-way participative nature. That being said, World Vision has done an exceptional job in embracing technology to advance their intentions, and to some extent their social software undertaking aligns to scholars Witzig, Spencer and Galvin’s (2012, p. 118) study of non-profits and social media, as they suggested that non-profit organisations are more inclined to use and retain social media tactics due to having a lack of marketing resources, understanding the inexpensive nature of social media.


40 Hour Famine. (2016). What is the 40 hour famine. In About. Retrieved from

4C’s [Image]. (2013). Retrieved from the Social media understanding it together blog:

Bernal, J. (2009, October 29). The relationship between web 2.0 and social networking. Retrieved from

Cook, N. (2008). Enterprise 2.0: How social software will change the future of work. Aldershot: England, Gower Publishing Ltd.

Crossman, K. (2016, May 19). Kimberley Crossman’s Trip to Jordan [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Witzig, L., Spencer, J., & Galvin, M. (2012). Organizations’ use of linkedin: An analysis of nonprofits, large corporations and small businesses. Marketing Management Journal, 113-121.

World Vision. (2016). Our mission. In About us. Retrieve from

World Vision [Logo]. (2016). Retrieved from the Popular Brands and Company Logos website:

worldvision. (2016, March 10). 13 year old Ali…[Instagram post]. Retrieved from

Web 2.0 [Image]. (2016). Retrieved from the Mind42 website: