Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group released a first-of-its-kind research study on the emerging role of the social media strategist. You can download the report on Jeremiah’s blog here.
We’re happy to be included in this research report. Clearly, marketing in a web 2.0 world means doing things differently but unless we stop doing something the old way…we’re not going to help our internal clients adopt new business processes. After all, this is about change management and the social media strategist must be willing to work through internal resistance (one of the 6 major challenges discussed in the report) to create quick wins and convince stakeholders to adopt new ways to work. Since we’ve been experimenting, learning and integrating social into our business for a few years now, I thought I’d provide my top 5 takeaways for helping drive change in your company.
1. Focus on creating a culture of openness and transparency. Social media enables a new direct communication between you and your customer and potential customers. This puts even more control in the hands of your employees to serve as brand champions. Start with internal blogs or forums from executives at the top. If not your CEO, find a willing executive and socialize the learnings to encourage others. Our internal CEO video blog is called “On my mind” and it’s an opportunity for employees to provide input to our CEO, in an open and transparent forum. Using video is more engaging for our employees – they see our CEO talking in his office, using his webcam about issues that have been raised on his blog. It sends the message that, if our CEO can do this, so can you.
2. Share with your management team what your peers and competitors are doing. Your great idea will get even more support internally if you back it up with 3rd party examples. And when you do have a success within one of your teams helps them socialize that and create a healthy competition to get others on board.
3. Share with your management team what your employees are saying behind the firewall and in the public domain. Making our management team aware of our “unofficial” presence online – such as the discussions on the Cisco group on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yammer, etc. not only raised awareness but made it an imperative to create a proactive strategy.
4. Stop doing something the old way. This is hard, for sure, but it’s critical in helping people understand how to get started. Some examples are:
a. We shortened our press release template and relied more on blogs for news.
b. We used Flip cameras for video blog posts instead of hiring a video crew. This led to a new training program for “how to make Flip videos”.
c. We reused content whenever possible. We encouraged marketing teams to optimize the content on their white papers so it could be chopped up into 5 blog posts, 1 video, 1 podcast, etc.
5. Create an internal resource center on your intranet. Use your intranet to help scale your team. With a dedicated role like social strategist, you will get calls from every department wanting to know everything from what is social media to what your team does and what services you offer. Having a robust intranet where you share resources, training materials, planning documents, policy and have some sort of discussion area where people can post questions not only helps you educate those that contact you, but it helps create a culture of sharing and openness.