Respond to social media with clarity, not control

Clarity rules. The fact that social media tools put the user, the employee, and the customer in the driver’s seat is terrifying to many marcom types. Get over it. It’s the new reality, and it’s changing not only how we market ourselves but also how we learn, teach, and work. Maddie Grant of SocialFish thinks about this a lot. She observes that the answer isn’t increased control, it’s increased clarity about mission and message. Getting your team clear on why they do what they do is the first step to getting them all singing in the same key.

Here are the slides from a presentation on the topic that Maddie, Lindy Dreyer, and Jamie Nottermade made in 2009.

Here are some of Maddie’s notes, as she posted them on the SocialFish blog:

First, we asked everyone to write down their number one biggest challenge for getting started “back at the ranch†.

We predicted that everyone’s challenges would fall into one of three buckets: behaviors (individual self), processes (internal relationships), or structures (organization as a whole). Jamie summarized some of those likely challenges:

1. Individual challenges:
Managing time
Difference between work and personal
Managing relationships (different mix of virtual and face to face)
Communicating better (you represent the company)

2. Internal Process challenges:
Competition about message and time. Different departments have different priorities.

Decision making. Who gets to decide and how decisions are made will be challenged by social media.

Knowledge. Archipelagos used to work but now can derail efforts.

3. Structure and Culture challenges:
Leadership. Authority and hierarchy is challenged. People who didn’t have power now do, so will your organization accept that?

Leadership again. Capacity has changed. We used to funnel information to smart people at the top, now capacity needed more at all levels.

Transparency. People will know more about you sooner. Can your organization handle that?

Failure and Risk. The calculus for these has changed dramatically, but no one has told our leaders yet.

Next, we explained that regardless of what tools you use and what social spaces you are operating in, social media “work†really boils down to one thing: how you are going to manage the process of listening and responding. We led the participants through a group exercise to discuss the pros and cons of centralized versus decentralized monitoring.

Centralized: A single department responsible for monitoring, reporting, coordinating responses from official spokespeople.

Decentralized: Interdepartmental cooperation for monitoring, reporting, coordinating responses from multiple spokespersons.


Read her whole post here.

Photo via TEDxMaui

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