I've been reflecting on the ideas shared at a panel called "Why Corporate Social Media Marketing Fails and How To Fix It" presented at the Web2.0 Expo by Peter Kim, Charlene Li, and Jeremiah Owyang. The discussion was organized around four points of social media failure:
- How can I get my culture to adapt?
- How can I make my campaigns work?
- What am I supposed to measure?
- Does social media even matter?
For this post, I wanted to focus on the first issue - the mismatch between organizational culture and social media adoption. To be successful, the organizational culture needs to be a learning culture, willing to experiment and learn.
As Charlene Li pointed out, "Change management processes take years - you don't change over night. You need to start small and get comfortable with the technology. You need to get the big guns involved and the only way to do that is to find the sweet spot between outcomes or goals and demonstrate how the social media strategy supports that." Take for example, the steps outlined in this "Twitter for the Workplace" article.
Translation for nonprofits: Explain your social media strategy and how it supports your organization's key outcomes.
They also warned against having social media be one person's responsibility or that it is a younger person's game. Social media is about engaging with your stakeholders - whose responsibility is that?
Jeremiah Owyang shared three different models for how corporations organize and deploy social media:
1. THE TIRE
I've seen this model with nonprofits and I'd add that the other downside is that the implementation isn't strategic.
2. THE TOWER
The Tower: Led by corporate communications, by executive mandate. The upside: Lots of resources. The downside? Not authentic, which saps participation and buy-in.
I've also seen this model in nonprofits and it isn't effective when silo culture gets in the way. Here's another anecdote, shared anonymously from a reader via email.
At my nonprofit, I work in the web department and we have been tasked by the executive director and director of communications to implement and oversee our social media presence. Implement and oversee, that is, without input from any other departments. There are 250 employees, so to task one group--a group that has no contact with members at all--with handling social media is a little weird to me. At the same time, I'm grateful that they're open to using social media in the first place, so I don't want to complain too much.
We actually have developed a pretty robust social media presence. We even have a staff person dedicated to social media implementation--me! But they didn't tell anyone on staff about it! So, weirdly, my whole job description is to work with other departments to develop and implement their social media stuff--but nobody knows my position exists unless they personally know me (which most people don't). I do work with people in other departments a bit, but on a totally individual basis--usually I approach them with an idea and work with them to implement it. But as far as, say, having a team drafting the social media strategy, I've suggested it and been told that no, we'll draft it then others can comment. The result is that I feel like I'm sneaking around behind other department's backs drafting a social media strategy that they're not even aware of, and know that when we finally present them with this completed strategy for their approval, heads are going to roll.
I'm constantly having to field complaints from staff "how come when our department wanted to do that we weren't allowed to but now you're allowed to?" "Why should the web team be handling this when it has nothing to do with the website?" etc. The web team is the only team that has authority to establish a presence on social networks--that alone is a huge point of contention.
People in our organization are getting downright nasty about who "owns" social media? That and the fact that silo culture absolutely prevents social media strategies from succeeding so, really, what's the point if the internal communication issues aren't going to be addressed as part of the strategy?"
3. THE HUB AND SPOKE
Hub-and-Spoke: some central focus, but with clear ownership at the edges. Upside: this is the aspirational model because it combines resources and participation. Downside: the most difficult to establish.
Charlene Li shared an exercise that does with corporations that sounded very similar to the share pair exercise I created for the WeAreMedia Workshop.
-Have organizational staff list all the worst fears
-Most common fear: don't trust employees, other themes
-How do you mitigate those risks?
-What are the benefits on the other side?
-Then make the decision to begin social media experiment
When asked to identify a "successful" corporation using social media, they pointed to examples of corporations that have failed and learned and kept on going. (Sounds like Listen, Learn, and Adapt)
Jeremiah Owyang, What's Wrong With Corporate Social Media and How To Fix It (round up of posts)
How is social media organized within your nonprofit organization? Does it match any of the above models? Is it working? Why or why not?