Everyone wants to talk about social media maketing and the conversation always revolves around content, or engagement. I’m shocked that we don’t hear more about the steps it takes to get those things?
- Who is creating that content?
- Who is engaging those people?
It’s your employees!
They are the ones who are going to be involved in making your company more social. The truth is, if you want to scale social engagement and content creation, you are going to need your team to be ready, willing, and trained. The employees are on the ground level, learning what is working and what isn’t. They are the ones interacting with clients and customers on a daily basis. They are salespeople, marketers, customer service reps and operations specialists. Yet the conversation for mobilizing employees is flying below the radar as we hand off the entire voice of the company to a single department like marketing, or even worse an outside PR agency.
YOU aren’t smarter than all of US
In 2008, I was working for a management consulting firm with a large, fairly disorganized, internal knowledge base. There were instances where training materials, and intellectual content only existed on one person’s (several year old) laptop. Documents got passed around from person to person, revised, resaved and reshared. My request that we use of Google Docs for collaboration was denied.
The Sharepoint knowledge base, that I personally built and designed with complicated permission levels and a meta-tagged based organization system, quickly devolved into the My Documents folder for a small segment of the company. This chaos was the product of the belief that certain people in the company were inherently smarter than others. It was a top down philosophy, yet here I was at the proverbial bottom and I’d designed the entire knowledge base meta-tag system. It was a major morale killer.
What’s even more interesting is that the organization was multi-matrixed, yet there were communication silos. There were teams inside of teams that overlapped with teams from other teams, yet this team couldn’t talk to that team…you get the picture. So, I proposed that we institute a newly released internal social networking tool called Yammer.
The goal was to open up the lines of communication, watch as trends emerge from different sales teams, allow commentary, encouragement, coaching, and new ideas to emerge from all areas of the company. I had just gotten the company started in social media and we were even plodding along a path to start a blog, so you would think that this suggestion would be welcomed. Leadership never bought into the idea, I think they feared losing “control.”
All of these ideas for openness and collaboration were ahead of its time.
But it’s now 2013, yet I still don’t hear nearly enough talk about the social that happens inside the company walls.
YOU don’t have as many hours as all of US combined
One of the remarkable things about Social Media is just how big it is. If something good or bad happens, it can catch like wildfire, yet many companies still operate as if that one college intern can handle it…they can’t. Responding to customer complaints–and even compliments– can be a time-intensive activity. Organizations that mobilize their people are in a much better position than the companies that rely on a single individual or department.
It’s time to start thinking about your businesses differently
Why not spend some time to think about how a collective organization can function and then begin building it? The aggregate of everyone’s ideas are greater than the sum of its parts. The expansion of touch points within a company will only create more dialogue with the outside world. There are tools to help facilitate sharing within an organization, use them.