Five non-negotiables of social business

The digital age has many attributes - technology, innovation, mobile, cloud and data, but the superpower of the time is unquestionably social media. Here are five ways that social media is disrupting all that you thought you knew about leading a business.

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

"[Social is] the first channel where businesses don't get to choose to participate."
Pam Rebecca, General Manager of Digital ANZ

1. To be truly digital you must be social

If you are in business with staff and customers you must be social. This is not optional. It’s the first channel in history where businesses don't get to choose whether to participate. 

Our customers, our teams and our competitors are already there and - because we are people before we are anything - our kids are also there.

As leaders, as customers, and as parents, we need to be there too. Some teenagers may find that idea a little challenging to cope with but I will leave that topic to braver folks than me.

Social media has changed the way business works.

You can discuss the topic with Pam on Thursday, February 5 at 1200 AEDST when she takes over the @ANZ_BlueNotes handle for a live Twitter Q&A. Everyone is welcome. Ask questions and share your non-negotiables for social media in business! #socialessentials

2. Quarantining an island in an ocean of social doesn't work

Non-social organisations are rapidly becoming islands in an ocean of social. The business world employs many digital natives. They live their lives in a social world (and as the mother of two teenagers, trust me: it is 24/7). 

People who lead active digital lives cannot reasonably be expected to live their work lives fundamentally differently to the rest. To arrive at work and find an organisation where communication with some individuals is controlled, rationed and sanitised is not a sustainable position any more. 

That’s no longer how we communicate in a social world. If organisations don't change this fast, it will become harder and harder to retain and hire digitally savvy staff. 

3. It opens the organisation to leaders

Controversial though this will sound, much of the controlled communications that happen in organisations protect the leaders from what is really going on and present a carefully curated version of the world. 

Messages are painstakingly planned, crafted, dissected, sweated over and professionally presented, leaving leaders to rarely see and hear the real but raw, messy and chaotic thoughts from the diverse teams that make up the company. 

Social enables leaders to reach directly inside the organisation and have real conversations. It’s a wonderful opportunity for leaders with curiosity.

Your say F2b3517a 4Aac 4Bd4 Beb7 8D7fbf96da02

Pam asked her followers on Twitter about their social non-negotiables in business. Below are some of the best replies.

Stewart Johnson ‏@stewartmjohnson
@rebeccapam #social has to be part of the marketing ROI equation, not just “isn’t it fun to tweet”. Use social based on analytics.

Andrew Hutchinson ‏@adhutchinson
@rebeccapam I agree with @SarahIsSocial, listening is key. Social is not a broadcast channel, being of relevance, how and when, is critical.

Claire Rogers ‏@ClaireSRogers
@rebeccapam @ANZ_BlueNotes Have a clear purpose without being inflexible, use the moment for context and be authentic

Daniel Young ‏@danieljohnyoung
@rebeccapam @ANZ_BlueNotes It's a cliché but using social as a customer intelligence channel. Social marketing is secondary.

Ruth Callaghan ‏@RuthViragoMedia
@rebeccapam @ANZ_BlueNotes Execs who say 'I don't do LinkedIn/Twitter' might be business leaders but won't become business elders

Get involved by sharing your social business non-negotiables on twitter with


4. It offers direct feedback

If we choose to listen, we can hear our customers volunteer their thoughts about our brand and engage in an ongoing conversation with the, on social. This can be done without engaging a research house and having the marketing teams sweat the brief for weeks. 

In a social world, you can reach out to brands and engage them directly - whether this delights or annoys you. The brands who most embrace this will capture the loyalty of their customers. 

Check out @tescomobile to see a brand that does this superbly. It is engaging, entertaining, and ‘always on’. 

Social cannot be a one-way conversation and brands that don't engage risk becoming irrelevant. 

5. At its core, social is essentially a great leveller

Social respects no boundaries and ignores old-world business barriers of geography, age, education and seniority.  It levels the field between customers and organisations, adults and children, professionals and non-professionals.

The old rules that governed who should contact whom and when are long gone. Companies ignore these forces of change (whether they be internal or external) at their peril.

Like any disruptive force, these are times when market positions must move. Things can motor along with little change for decades. But social is a transformational force that has as many opportunities as it has dangers. Embracing it is not without risk; ignoring it will bring certain decline. 

See you on twitter. 

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

editor's picks

11 Nov 2014

Asia and digital – the twin revolutions

Pam Rebecca | Former General Manager of Digital ANZ

What is digital? Is it data, platforms, an app? A website? Social? Content? The list goes on. And that's just beginning with the customer side of digital. There's a whole other list of questions when it comes to what is often called digitisation - transforming the underlying processes that support your business.

13 Nov 2014

Culture is the challenge in Asia but language is a vital key

Jonathan Harvey | Former Group General Manager Executive Development, ANZ

On a return flight from Singapore recently, where I had been interviewing candidates for ANZ’s Generalist Bankers Program (a Management Trainee project designed to build an internal pipeline of future Country CEOs), I reflected on the fact 70 per cent of the 700 applicants for the 2015 intake and eight out of the 10 candidates who we had decided to progress to the final stage of the selection process, speak an Asian language in addition to English.