At Cisco, we see the long-term benefits of using social media to connect with fans and enhance employees’ work efforts. The Global Social Media Marketing team has been experimenting with a number of different ways to drive social media adoption internally. One example includes rewarding and recognizing SMEs (subject matter experts) who showcase exemplary use of social media (if you’re interested in reading about our most recently awarded SMEs, check out the new “Meet Our SMEs” blog series).
On the other hand, we’d also like to have our employees proactively drive this process by having the SMEs offer their social media knowledge for social media managers who might need an SME’s help with a variety of different projects. So how did we go about executing this initiative?
We decided to borrow a technique from online dating sites to mix and match individuals based on their needs, capabilities, and common interests—thus creating the “Social Match Program.”
There were a couple main objectives to this program. Besides providing social managers with the short-term assistance they needed, we also wanted to offer exciting new opportunities for our SMEs to partake in so that they could get additional exposure and become more adept at utilizing their social media skills. This would ultimately result in a win-win situation for both parties.
A Closer Look at the Mechanics of the Program
How does it work? This winning combination includes a few key ingredients: two simple online forms and a “matchmaker.” The SME Open Participation Form consists of a series of questions that SMEs can voluntarily fill out about their areas of expertise and interests, after which they would automatically be added to our database. On the flipside, social managers can submit an SME Request Form when they want to ask for an SME’s help with a certain social media opportunity (e.g., events, launches, campaigns, and more). Upon receiving an SME Request Form submission, our team acts as “the matchmaker” to work our magic in identifying and connecting social managers with the appropriate SMEs.
Program Successes to Date
Although the program still has many improvements to make, it has garnered much initial interest and positive feedback from employees. In just two months following its launch at the end of last year, several hundreds of SMEs have volunteered to join the database, representing a plethora of different business functions and market segments. Moreover, the program has overseen 8 total Social Match projects so far with 4 projects currently in progress.
For the future, we hope that Social Match can continue to assist social managers and SMEs alike get the most out of their social media pursuits while helping employees find others with a common passion for social media.