Social media – not just a communications changer

Social media gurus seem to react with increasing disbelief when communicators ask, ‘how can I convince my boss to use social media?’

They’ve heard it many times before I’m sure, but the disbelief increases the more time goes by. Probably because once you’re sucked into social media you become blind to all the people outside of it. It also gets harder, at least for me, to explain the benefits in a clear, rational, step-by-step approach, showing the numbers of people involved, and going through the lists of advice.

It’s not easy to remain calm when all the time there’s a one word syllable knocking against the insides of your cranium, that you have to struggle to keep from popping out of your mouth: ‘Duh!!’

Rude, I know. Some people are still struggling to find their way, but once you’ve been using something for years, and every day you see it growing in front of you, it does become a case of ‘Duh’. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Well, perhaps not…

Social media, and the full bounty of online decadence is simply not available to all communicators. Not because we don’t know about the numerous opportunities out there, not because we don’t know how to blog or how to fully capitalise on a twitter account, a linkedIn profile, or engage on Facebook beyond our own personal use. Not because we’re feeling overwhelmed. Not because we prefer ‘traditional’ channels – does anyone even know what that means anymore?

But because social media is not just a game changer in communications, it fundamentally changes the structure, hierarchy and working methods of an organisation.

That’s my theory anyway.

I put it to you, fellow communicators, that it is a darn sight easier for fresh, young organisations to fully and properly utilise social media in all it’s boundless glory. Not just setting up accounts, but using them the right way, strategising, measuring and evaluating – the whole caboodle.

That’s because when you start up fresh, you don’t have as many social media woes – you want people to contact you, connect with you, even criticise you. You’re not worried about difficult questions, you don’t have the security fears, the worry about giving up control over your message, since you start off with everyone on the same page. Giving everyone on your team his or her social media accounts is as straight forward as giving them all a set of desk stationary – pens, pencils, paper clips, business cards – and fully branded to boot!

There’s no hierarchy of information, you’re all as important in getting the information in and out, each employee’s network is valid and valuable.

Social media doesn’t need to be written into every job description specifying number of expected tweets, Facebook wall posts and unique visitor targets per blog post.  It’s a given. Sure, some will need more training and explaining than others, but the training and the explaining are a given.

So I am still wondering, and I think there are others out there, how do you effectively integrate social media across an established organisation?

And how much of the resistance to social media uptake can be attributed to the idea that social media is not just a communications changer, it’s an organisation changer?

  • CommunicatorsXchange

    Well, this cute little video sums up my whole article in 2 mins, especially the ‘duh’ part:

© 2011 5MFCommunications -