Your company has invested in social technology and is thinking every Friday afternoon about a Social Media Strategy, because everybody is talking about. Anyhow, for you Social Communication looks like troubled waters.
Too many doubts, too much resistance to change and there is one thing that hurts the usual process management and all the QM ranking tools: Social Media activity is driven from the bottom up and requires disruptive thinking. In other words : top down communication was yesterday, the future requires a bottom-up communication, transparency, authenticity, reactivity in real time, they say.
A Social Media Strategy will always be a moving interface. You have to define your
- Corporate Identity 2.0 and a clear web visibility.
- Identify the operative field(s) : CRM, KT, ERM, LMS or just PR ? But…
- The company should state explicitly what the employees can and can’t do on both, internal and external social media platforms, preferably via a formal policy : Freedom without rules leads to absolute confusion, even for the digital natives becoming your clients and coworkers or partners.
Profiling your activity on a Facebook landing page inviting your clients and partners to become a fan, starting microblogging on Twitter and publishing on YouTube and editing on Slideshare , blogging with Blogger or WordPress, there will be no short term return on investment to justify all the time you will have to spend on all this new stuff you didn’t heard about five years ago. The good news ? You don’t need to invest in an expensive software generating once again stress and digital frustration, but you have to set up the frame of a new kind of Time Management. Let’s call it Time Management 2.0. It’s work in progress, never ending.
Where are the reasons of implementing a Social Media Strategy – tailor made for your business? More collaboration, engagement and informal learning, intergenerational knowledge transfer and a better CRM 2.0? Good idea, but inside or outside the daily workflow? You are not really convinced that you need it to improve your business. And, are you sure, all your coworkers want to dive in to the Social Media pond?
Collaborate, share, participate are the magic words of Social Media Networking. Digital natives among your employees will take to social media like little ducks to water. They will be the indoor champions celebrating the concept of social media, participating without fear, and proactive in collaboration, sharing, spreading and contribution to creative commons. But some of your employees will never be team players. Sharing their knowledge and participating at creative commons means a paradigm shift for them and you will never force these people to collaborate and “abandon” their skills and experience inside a wiki. They won’t appreciate to elaborate charrettes.
But there are other reasons explaining their reluctance, such as:
- Caution(and bad experience) to voice an opinion or to write a post or comment.
- Fear of overstepping your authority or to offend a supervisor.
- Struggling against overload.
To achieve the critical mass of users and ongoing participation rate, to get rich content and feed back , the sustained support of — and participation by — senior executives is essential. Leadership means also to be an example. Perhaps your engagement will convince and convert reluctant coworkers. A CEO or a business owner has to know how a Social Media strategy looks like, but if you can delegate, just do it.
The solution ? Hire a Social Media Manager to centralise the authority, engage with the right people, and drive real outcomes. The Social Media Manager will need determination and creativity to overcome the risk that your Social Media trial gets lost in transaction. He needs also your (tacite)agreement.
- If you block access to social media frivolity, you also block access to useful resources. Of course, personal mobile devices can circumvent the company’s access policy anyway.
- If your company doesn’t want to dip the toes into social media, the Earth will still turn without you. If your employees don’t want to collaborate, participate and learn, that’s your problem first.
In summary, the potential of social media is not about the digital skills and viral thinking. It’s about resilience. To maximise the value of the available tools and platforms, your employees must want to be collaborative, must want to try something new to achieve greater success. It’s your job to convince and convert them to think and work different. You prefer to stay on the bench of the audience ? Your competitors won’t mind at all.