On 9 February 2011 I started circulating what was then a controversial tenet: Social media at a company should be open to everyone, not just a select few. I posited then, as I do now, that all employees should be entrusted to build your company’s social business the same way in which they are entrusted to build your “brick and mortar” business. Put simply: companies need to open the keys to their social business kingdom in order to thrive in the social economy.
Since then much press has been written espousing this same tenet (by myself and others) and making arguments for the case of open social employee engagement. A few articles of note:
- The new social business engagement equation – my article from earlier this year describing company alumni and the creator and curator roles
- Why your employees should tell your story – an article by Cheryl Burgess of Blue Focus Marketing
- Why insourcing is the next social media marketing and content trend – an article by Jay Baer
- and more…
I’m thrilled that the tenet is getting so much attention almost two years later! When I vocalized my beliefs then I was met with shock, disbelief and challenges over whether companies were ready, how they could mitigate the inherent risks and how the power would shift from the ‘social media suite’ back to the hands of employees. From recent press and events (Dreamforce 2012 anyone?) it now appears that the tide has shifted!
So now the question becomes, how do companies prepare to survive in this brave new world? The answer? Embrace it. How?
- Put the creation of social messaging content back into the hands of your employees. Your employees are the real builders of your brand. As I say above, if they build your brick and mortar business why should they not be allowed to build your social business? Creating real relationships takes real people, not just marketing rhetoric (and this is coming from someone with a marketing background!)
- Marketing teams should have /no/ ownership over content that is published about your brand. Should marketing help guide the strategy? Absolutely! Should marketing be responsible for helping to educate the curators that weave a company’s story? Of course. They should not however have the final say over content creation and publishing. The days of the marketing bureaucratic powerhouse have come to an end
- Recognize that social, for every employee, is necessary. You as a company need to understand that telephone calls, emails and face-to-face interactions are just no longer the norm and that social interactions are the new normal. Conversations on twitter can, and have, built much stronger relationships than traditional communication channels have
- Stop challenging the value of B2B social engagement and participate. Twitter conversations are the new power lunch, the new golf game and the new first-class seat mate conversation. Is it scary to think about putting your executives on social media? Of course it is (and the Wall Street Journal has a good article on this concern) but that is not a reason to say no; recognize and mitigate the risks and work through them. Need help? I’d be remiss if I did not plug my own product, Curatiant, that I built to solve this part of the social business engagement equation
Do you have any tips to help companies “go social”? Agree or disagree with my views? Write me on twitter, @coreyrawdon or leave a comment below!