We have lots of meeting with lots of companies and one theme that we see time and again is that social media is an attractive (if perceived as slightly risky) thing for the company to do. Social media, as we all know, connects organisations with their stakeholders and their customers and their staff.
It connects staff to staff and customers. It makes people friends and it influences people’s decision making. And it can be pivotal in catapulting a business from obscurity to fame and fortune.
People get the power of social and they understand how to engage and influence and “sell”. But for some reason companies simply don’t. What begins as (and should be) a conversation between people, sharing, listening, helping, guiding becomes yet another broadcast channel for corporate verbiage which nobody needs or wants.
So how can this happen? Why does this happen?
What seems to happen is that organisations tend to control. They take away – through brand guidelines and corporate comms – the intimacy of the “human” element in conversations. It is the electronic equivalent of going into a meeting and simply reading from a script rather than having a chat.
So worried are some organisations, that an employee on the social channel might make a mistake, that they stop their staff from saying anything at all. And then social simply becomes another corporate mouthpiece to be ignored by everyone.
As Seth Godin once said, “the problem with marketers is that they break everything”. This total de-personalisation of the way that social channels are conducted means that businesses “break” social media and possibly the business itself.
How can businesses stop this from happening?
Well, they need to educate and empower staff. They need to have clear social media guidelines that act as a launch-pad for the creativity and personality of the staff rather than as a gag.
They need to find a way of liberating their staff to go out into the world and champion the organisation to their own networks and so sell-through their staff.
This is a big ask, and it’s not easy to enable. But, get it right, and the results are truly transformational. Organisations can punch above their weight, they get a better ROI, a much better net property score, more latitude for making mistakes and a massively enhanced bottom line.
If that sounds like the sort of thing your organisation should be doing then we should speak. If not…just carry on…doing more of the same. Getting less return for the same effort each year and finding it increasingly difficult to do what used to be so easy.
Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.