Social Media Marketing

Heather Gossard (Global) - Going Social? Go Back to Basics

Despite reports of doom and gloom surrounding business growth across the Eurozone, Social Computing or ‘Enterprise 2.0’ is one sector that seems to be booming and is changing business management models significantly – moving businesses increasingly towards instant messaging, social network services, wikis and social bookmarking.

Forrester Research cites that overall, 86% of business technology buyers engage in some kind of social activity for business purposes. In addition, according to a recent McKinsey Global Survey on digital business, 68% said digital marketing and social tools are at least a top ten priority. Businesses have high expectations for social too; with one third anticipating that digital business will ‘increase operating income by more than 10% over the next three years.’ In spite of this, they also report some tough challenges ahead with almost half explaining their organization’s funds are too small to achieve social goals. In addition, many executives fear there is a lack of efficient IT infrastructure to support social initiatives.

As a result, we’re hearing from our partners and customers that there’s more and more confusion about exactly how to integrate this into organizations and executives are often sitting around scratching their heads as to what to do next. The good news is – you don’t have to be labeled a ‘social media expert’ to get started — think about going back to basics when going social.

Remember the manila envelope with the column grid on the front, filled with names as a way of circulating office information? When that envelope hit your desk you opened it, read the note inside, signed or took what you needed from the envelope, crossed your name off the grid and passed it to the next person on the list. That was before the advent of the social enterprise.
But, how can organizations support the functional simplicity of the circulated envelope while embracing enterprise social computing?

Some top tips for going social are:

  • Keep it simple: Rather than confounding employees with complicated flowcharts and diagrams provide them with a tool that’s not overwhelming and is simple to get around. Think back to the envelope - a simple object - no one ever wondered which flap to open.

  • Have an adoption plan and involve executives: Social is not a ‘Field of Dreams’ story of ‘build it and they will come.’ Help your employees embrace social with a practical approach by heavily involving the management team and teaching them to weave social into the fabric of everyday working life, making sure they post comments online during their working week.

  • Evangelize your story: Let staff know how others in the organization are benefitting from social or how they made the transition from envelope-to-email-to-social so they can participate in and emulate these “a-ha” moments.

  • Make it personal: Make employee needs and ways of working central to the social experience. Drive knowledge sharing to learn best practice. If a project has gone well, the team lead can post up achievements and challenges, publically thanking those involved and encouraging other executives to comment. 

  • Re-think how you communicate: Email isn’t going away any time soon so make sure you reach your users in their inboxes and draw them into the social experience. Know that social communication isn’t one-way; it’s multi-directional. Expect and plan for employee participation then… 

  • Listen to your users: Address their pain points by listening to feedback, find their success stories and support them by providing the tools, content and skills they need. 

  • Build for self-help: Provide some simple employee learning assets and give employees a place to get the help they need from each other. 

  • Recognize the new social establishment: Social effortlessly breaks down informational, departmental, and geographical silos; creates communities for collaboration and enables easy information and expertise discovery. Our brick and mortar pedigrees may not carry as much weight in the social Intranet-sphere. Recognize the new experts in your organization and use their expertise to grow your knowledge base.

By Heather Gossard, Social Business Strategist and Solutions Consultant, NewsGator Technologies



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