One of the most fundamental and effective tactics for a successful social enterprise is the creation of an internal group to guide the adoption and implementation of social media. Yesterday I explained why you need one. Here’s how to going about setting it up. This post is taken from our recent ebook, Social Media Blueprint: A Step-by-Step Plan to Prepare Your Company.
Step One: Bring Everyone Together
In order to be effective, a social media council needs to be inclusive. There are many people inside your organization with a say in how you communicate. Make sure they are represented so that you have a holistic view of your communications (and also so they don’t feel left out later and slow down or halt your progress).
A comprehensive social media council will include representatives from:
- PR/Corporate Communications
- Marketing Communications
- Internal Communications
- Customer Service
- Human Resources
- Product Management
- Product Development
Every organization is different; your social media council may not include all of these groups, or it may include others not on the list. Be sure to invite anyone who might be able to say, “I have something vital to share with our community” or, “I don’t think we should share that publicly.”
Step Two: Embrace the Curmudgeons
Don’t be afraid to invite the people who you know or suspect to be resistant to social media adoption or growth inside your company. It’s much better to include them at the beginning and let them see they have a say in the process. Legal teams are often the most cautious about social media, but many a skeptical corporate attorney has had his/her fears assuaged by being part of a carefully-considered planning process.
Plus, your social media council will most likely include enthusiastic early adopters as well as social media curmudgeons. The social media council is the perfect place for the curmudgeons to catch some of the early adopters’ enthusiasm, and for the early adopters to hear and understand the curmudgeons’ often-valid concerns.
Step Three: Invite the Doers as Well as the Planners
The best way for you to sabotage the success of your social media council is to fill it with the people who make the rules, and ignore the people who do the work. You can’t plan a successful social enterprise in a vacuum: the people who will use the tools and run the campaigns must have a say in the process.
WordPress is one of the best-known and most successful blogging platforms, used by everyone from casual bloggers to major corporations. Yet we’ve talked to more than a few corporate social media practitioners who are using lesser-known, less effective blogging platforms. Why? Because the IT department chose the platform based on their (valid but narrow) criteria, without considering the input of the people who would actually use it. Make sure the people who will be in the social media trenches every day have their voices heard in your social media council.
Step Four: Share Best Practices
Even today, with more and more companies becoming successful social enterprises,nagging questions remain:
- What should I tweet?
- How do I separate my personal and professional lives?
- Am I allowed to talk about my company?
- How do I find the time to be active in social media?
Most likely there are people inside your organization who have already answered those questions, and answered them in a way that will make sense to their colleagues. Spread social media adoption and successful social media practice within your organization by sharing the best practices that are working for people inside your organization. The social media council is the ideal place to gather and share those practices.
Let’s look at an example experienced by one of our friends at a large company. As Social Media Manager, he was charged with spreading social media adoption inside the company. He was having a hard time making inroads with the sales team. As we all know, sales people are focused on the deal, and rightly so. Getting their attention to try something new requires a special approach.
When our friend found out that one of the senior sales leaders inside the company was getting leads and valuable insight from Twitter and LinkedIn, he shot a short video of her describing her process. He took the video back to the social media council, who helped him share it in all the internal channels available to them. The result was an avalanche of requests from sales people for more information about using Twitter and LinkedIn. If your social media council is made up of a representative group from inside your organization, it is the ideal mechanism for sharing best practices that will be understandable and useful to your employees.
Step Five: Communicate Your Success
Many companies are participating in social media because they feel they have to be there, even though they aren’t doing the work to calculate the ROI. This can create a dangerous situation for the people flying the social media flag; no one wants to be in the department that can’t define its value.
The social media council can help by sharing success stories that exemplify the value of social media. Did Sales land a big contract because of a connection made through social media? Share the story internally in every channel available to you. Has HR improved the quality of candidates and reduced recruiting expenditures by using LinkedIn? Write it up and post it on the company intranet. Has customer satisfaction increased because the customer service team is using Twitter? Tell everybody about it at your next employee meeting.
Again, the social media council is the ideal place to gather company-wide success stories and share them, ensuring that the hard work of social media adoption—and the valuable information and knowledge gained in the process—benefits everyone in the company.