I’ve been trying to get my head around why it’s so difficult for business to understand the “social” part of social media.
Then it hit me like a Homer Simpson “D’oh!” slap.
Those companies doing “social” right already have a culture of innovation, collaboration and communication in place. When social media came along, it was like giving Viagra to Don Juan.
What these companies also have in common is they’re client centric. Customer service is not just a buzzword; it’s their mission statement.
The majority of company leaders have their heads buried in the day to day tasks of running their business. They grab at whatever straws are handed them in a hope to make their life and their business better.
One of those straws is social media.
What inevitably happens is that they then try to assemble something without taking time to build the necessary culture foundation to support it.
We all know what happened to the straw house.
Integrating social into a company is about change management.
As consultants, we’ve been telling companies how to interact on social media, how to use Twitter, Facebook and the rest for few years now.
We’ve given them the beauty tips but they’re wasted unless what’s under the lipstick is a princess… and not a pig.
What’s a company to do if it understands the merits of being social but don’t know if they’re ready?
Here’s some questions you might want to ask…
- How familiar is executive management with the various forms of social media and how they are used?
- What are the biggest obstacles to the adoption of social media practices?
- What are the biggest challenges in creating and maintaining consistent content?
- Who on staff is most enthusiastic about talking to customers? About social media?
- How does the company normally react to negative commentary from the media, customers, competitors and other stakeholders?
- Not enough time to write
- Not sure what to write about
- Can’t be committed to writing
- No one’s available/qualified to manage the process
- Not sure if it’s worth the effort
Content is more than just written text, of course. But producing video and podcasts can seem even more intimidating.
Time is always at the top of any list of challenges, and it comes down always to priorities. There are many tools and apps that can help save time.
Researching these tools and managing social media is what social media expert do.
Every company has more content than they realize, it sometimes takes someone from the outside to reveal the treasure within.
Not worth the effort?
Let’s see, your clients are on social media. They talk to each other about you on social media. They’re asking questions of you on social media.
Clients aren’t worth the effort?
You can outsource the tasks but you can’t outsource you. You need to make sure that it’s your voice that’s heard. (check out EasyBizBlogging)
Though chances are that many in the company use social media personally, there is a big difference between personal and business use. Many won’t be comfortable with either the technology or the responsibility of speaking for the company.
- Clearly state the purposes for why the company is adopting social media and why a training program is in place
- Set clear goals and measurable objectives for each piece of the program
- Develop different course levels to account for different levels of adoption as well as create multiple opportunities for achievement and break the process into easily digestible mental bites
- Set in place tactical how-to training, as well as conceptual training and example scenarios
- Test or benchmark the program to gauge the progress of employees as they move through the program
- Create a review process for assessing the effectiveness of the program, the effectiveness of your trainers and when your program needs updating
- Have available a library of published educational resources that employees can access before, during and after training
The success of our social media efforts is dependant on how well we’ve integrated social technology and culture into our lives and business.
With only one third of Canadian businesses on social media and nearly half not very enthused about its merits, do you think we’re still early in the game or just bad coaches?
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.