Once upon a time, businesses and the agencies that served them saw that bright and shiny object called social media as another way to broadcast messages. Many jumped right in without much planning; and the implications today are obvious:
- Insane amount of social media channels – 178 to be exact, with many of them abandoned and/or dying a very very slow death, unfortunately
- Employees getting canned – not just middle managers either. Executives are also getting fired for stupidity online. It’s a fact.
- Internal confusion of roles & responsibilities – usually the battles between marketing and PR for ownership of social as a job function. Yes, it’s still happening today.
- Inconsistent social media measurement practices – either companies aren’t measuring social or everyone is measuring it differently.
- Outdated crisis communication models – companies are slow to respond for a variety of reasons i.e. technology, process or some don’t care.
- Expanding social media programs globally – much like the early days of social, companies are expanding programs and trying to build communities in other regions without planning. They usually die too.
- Disjointed content/community management practices – lack of internal collaboration and knowledge sharing is causing mediocre (if that) content creation and community engagement.
The good news is that some business leaders have accidentally bumped their heads and are now realizing that they have to get their internal houses in order first before they continue to invest more time and resources externally.
As companies are starting to do this, they are realizing that they must provide some level of value to the entire stakeholder eco-system – externally with customers and partners and internally with employees and teams.
Companies are also realizing that the result of investing in social business initiatives can make a lot of things better – employee advocacy, employee innovation, better customer relationships, better marketing and so on.
The discussion concluded identifying a path to social business evolution:
- Knowing that there are issues is half the battle. Overcoming denial and push back is the other half. Think GI Joe.
- Conduct an internal audit. Whatever the business challenge is, talk to stakeholders to get their feedback and points of view. This will help establish a thesis and then potential plan of action.
- Put a team together; a committee, tiger team or better yet a social business center of excellence.
- Take a long-term view. You will not solve all the organizational problems over night. Start slow, establish some wins, build and iterate.
The discussion was awesome. Those in attendance were engaged and asked some really good questions. Hopefully, they were able to extract a little value from my presentation.