If you haven’t noticed yet, the talk of the town is how to integrate social media into everyday business. Whether from a small business or a global organisation perspective, everyone’s trying to find the ‘best way’ to incorporate social media in some way to solve their ongoing business challenges.
But eventually organisations – big and small – need to evolve and discover the best ways to integrate these communication tools into their management and business practices.
A tale of two strategic approaches
Over the last few of years, I’ve seen a variety of ‘right’ approaches. First came Forrester with the POST methodology:
This approach was a good start as it spoke a language that Marketers understood – campaign strategy. But the problem with campaigns are that it’s traditionally how agencies and marketing departments organise themselves. “when are we rolling this out”, “how long will it run for” etc etc etc
This is also how many organisations, that ‘outsource’ their creative and marketing functions, start “dipping their toe in the water”, using several one off ‘social media campaigns’. The problem with a ‘campaign’ approach is that it’s one sided and social media is about communicating differently, building relationships and engaging with people. Afterall, you can’t expect relationships to deepen after a series of ‘unique campaigns’. 😉
Like Rome, relationships aren’t built in a day! Imagine telling a friend that you can only be a friend to them for 12 weeks! It doesn’t need a Degree to guess what their response would be…
On the flip side to Forrester is the Dachis Group, who published their ‘Social Business Design’ methodology stating:
The only way to compete in the future is re-organize the entire enterprise from the ground up with a framework to be a social business by design.
Now this is fantastic and I believe they’re right… But, and it’s a big BUT, I don’t know many organisations that will ‘set a side’ the way they’ve always done things to “try” a new way to grow a company. If you do I’d love to meet them(!) Let’s face it, even if the management teams agree, the shareholders will probably have something to say about it…
Happy medium – for now
So this leaves us somewhere in the middle. We can’t loose sight of the fact that we need strategy, guidelines and procedures to outline how things will get done, establish goals and metics etc (otherwise how will we know if we’re heading in the right direction…?) But, from an online communication (operational) perspective we need to ‘drop’ the word campaign from our vocab entirely! And although there are people within an organisation that “get” social media and understand how it can benefit their company, there are other people that still need to be convinced that this new “socialite medium” craze will last before they invest any of their time into it. So addressing culture change/transition will be a big factor to have answers for. (Baby steps come to mind)
… And finally
Each business is different, that’s what’s so exciting about social media – it’s not a one size fits all thing. At last the ‘generic repsonse’ can be put in the ‘Smithsonian’. The personality of the company needs to out-shine the usual corporate chatter, and this is something that cannot be copied; it’s as unique for each organisation as our own personalities are to you and me.