Thursday, January 28, 2010

Look for Social Media Participants Outside of Marketing!

I was a little confused by a colleague's frustration that he was the "only" one at his very large, high-technology consulting firm that was making a social media and networking effort on behalf of his organization. He is tasked with developing strategies for these channels as he is in marketing, but I was a little stunned at his claim that nobody else was engaging in digital conversation. After about five minutes, I realized that as much "out-of-the-box" and open thinking we may think we are doing as businesses regarding availing ourselves of these channels for marketing, sales and customer dialogue, we may still be constrained by our traditional approaches and silos in terms of our implementation. Folks, chat rooms, blogs, and IRQ instant-messaging were around long before Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube were even a glimmer in the parents of those applications' developers eyes and digital social networking and conversation is happening ALL over our organizations. I thought I would make a couple of quick suggestions as to how we might harness this dialogue and encourage participation before I launched into my much delayed Predictions for 2010 Post! :)
1. Survey ALL employees about their Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Ning, blog, etc. participation and engagement.
2. Make suggestions about interesting and relevant communities, Linkedin Groups, blogs, Fan Pages, where it would be fruitful for you to have ears and members.
3. Open the channels of communication in all divisions regarding what is being "heard" and posted about your solutions and products.
4. Include your internal constitutencies and participants in your social media and networking practice metrics and measurements. If an employee in H.R. mentions her excitement about the release of a new security package in her benefits Linkedin group, it counts as exposure.
5. Consider non-traditional groups in your analysis. I was speaking with the VP of Marketing for an electrical components distributor the other day and he mentioned that one of his warehouse employees had run across some comments about the company in a contractors on-line community. I suggested that he include this type of feedback in his marketing strategy and consider doing some basic corporate communication training with the warehouse employees about ways they might respond to feedback in that network.
6. Consider including Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, etc. addresses in email signatures, business cards, etc. for all employees.
7. Keep the "social" in this ever-evolving and expanding discipline. Whether every employee has a specific contriubtion role or not, it is likely that they and their networks are a rich source of information for us.

Jay Baer is quoted as saying "Remember in social media everyone's a teacher and everyone's a student."

Sources for digital dialogue and often content may often be way outside of our traditional marketing, p.r., and customer relations roles.

Warmest regards,

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