“Social Media is not only changing how we communicate, we are also changing the culture of business from the outside in and from the bottom up.” – Brian Solis, Q&A: Culture Shock, How Social Media is Changing the Culture of Business

Socializing the enterprise internally and externally is certainly a challenging task to take on, especially because change doesn’t happen overnight. As your organization explores the online culture of the communities with whom you wish to engage, do not overlook the importance of your own corporate culture when trying to implement new business methods. For change to take root and success blossom, a mind-shift is required within the company culture.

  1. Collaborate: Change cannot occur when it is being mandated from the top or when a grassroots effort is made from the lower echelons only. Change happens somewhere in the middle and requires top-down empowerment and trust, as well as, bottoms-up interest and participation. How it fits into your planTake a page from IBM and start collaborating on a living, breathing document setting expectations for how your company should engage in the social media space.
  2. Establish Guidelines: Provide clear guidelines for engagement and disclosure, so that all employees can represent themselves and the company clearly and professionally. How it fits into your plan – By allowing your workforce do what they do best and act as your representative, your organization can gain valuable social capital, credibility, and opportunity.
  3. Internalize: Don’t jump into the social media ocean without learning how to swim in your nearest watering hole. Discover how social your own organization is by examining how current relationships are being cultivated on and offline. How it fits into your plan – Start using social tools and tenets to improve business processes and begin socializing the enterprise.
  4. Experiment: Do not feel pressured to copy the actions of another company because of a case study you read. Success is a custom-made solution determined through trial and error. How it fits into your plan – Start small, but think BIG! As you begin to implement social media internally, determine a few areas externally where you can begin engaging with your community. Use the lessons learned to grow your social media campaigns into an invested program.
  5. Share: A culture is molded and shaped by stories. People conform to what is around them. Change their story. Allow your workforce to partake in your organization’s social media experiments and get their tongues wagging, so they shout out these stories from the mountain top! How it fits into your plan – Share stories and feedback throughout the entire company to spur change and believability in your organization’s vision.

Have you given thought to how corporate culture fits into your plan? Please share your lessons learned and how your organization has adapted social media.