Taking the fear out of a social media implementation

Ghost fear

Ghost fear (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

This is another post in the #NoFearHR project.                                            Here’s my response to Jay’s thoughts in “Lose the Fear and get to work“.

Beg forgiveness

Jay,  There is more than one way to approach a social media implementation inside your organization.

You deserve credit for the bold choices you have made around your social media implementation at the hospital. I really like your approach.

Your “beg forgiveness” approach is a good one – kind of like planting a seed, nurturing it and letting it grow slowly into something bigger.  I like that approach, but it  only works in some organizations.

When I asked you how you would approach implementing social media if you were starting fresh today, one of the things you mentioned was that before you went running off “launching a strategy“, you needed to get your team on board.   In fact, I think I’ll quote you:

Looking back now the most important move involved two parts:

1 – Introducing social tools one-by-one to the team at a pace that was comfortable

2- Requiring them to use the tools

For me, having a social media strategy that no one on the front line believes in doesn’t make much sense. Without the commitment of the people around me in HR, our journey into social media would never have made it to tweet #1 (let alone #12,000.)

I think that’s a pretty valid viewpoint for one small department within an organization, especially if it for something like the human resources department looking to use social tools to recruit talent.  I’d do the same thing in that situation.  The level of risk is small, and the ROI comes pretty quick if you do it right.

I’d suggest a different approach when it comes to getting the entire company involved in social media.

Ask permission

Some implementations are going to take longer, Jay.  You said in your post that if you were starting over today, you would want the C-Suite on board with the effort, especially Marketing.  I think that’s critical, and is better approach for most situations.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for  HR people who are looking to get their company into social media to follow:

The more conservative the organization, the more important it is to have support from the CEO down.

What I’m saying is that anyone taking the lead on a social media implementation is to do so based on the scope of the project.  Things like size of the organization, scope of the implementation, availability of resources, and span of control all come into play when planning a social media implementation.

If you work for a large company, your implementation will have a greater chance of long-term success by doing the prep work that gives the C-Suite confidence in the effort.    You need to know your organization and choose the approach that will work best for you.

Here are some other considerations that went into the social media implementation at my company:

  1. Educational process for executive team
  2. Decision on whether to engage with social or not
  3. Platform/tool selection
  4. Preparation for launch – design, training, voice of brand
  5. Tools for moderation, publishing, listening, monitoring
  6. Preparation for worst case scenarios
  7. Develop team of internal Subject Matter Experts
  8. Define who controls messaging

Both approaches are valid.  Smart leaders will select the best path for them.  The most important thing is to get started on doing the work that gets you into the game.

What other tips would you suggest for a social media implementation, Jay?


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