Maddie Grant is the co-author of Open Community: a little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web. Maddie is also the lead editor of one of the most visited and respected blogs written for association executives, SocialFishing where she gets to express her viewpoint as a classic Gen-X early adopter and “shiny new toy” addict. As the chief social media strategist for SocialFish, Maddie draws from more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications, and international business operations to help organizations large and small build capacity for using social media to achieve business results.
Maddie Grant: What seems like social media implementation challenges actually reflect much deeper organizational issues. And because social media is primarily a communications funnel or communications channel, we’re seeing a lot of companies who start by setting up, you know, some social media campaigns. But what they discover as they’re trying to do more social media integration is that social media touches every single part of your company. So if you have multiple departments, if you have a communications department and a marketing department and maybe, you know, a meetings department or sales department, each of those different groups of people may be doing very different things using social media, but they’re all under your umbrella. So they have to be able to communicate. So this is one example where, you know, you may start off with individual departments, doing individual activities, but at the end of the day, there has to be some changes in your internal communication and internal collaboration in order to really optimize and maximize what you’re doing with social media.
So we use social media very specifically to help with these deeper organizational changes. Setting up social media guidelines that actually are the same for everybody in the company, but they allow for what you can, as an employee, do with social media. How you can represent the company as opposed to trying to police what you are trying to do with social media. This is one tactical way of changing the way that you work in order to allow more people to use social media.
Another way is to set up an internal team with representation from different departments. So you might have a PR person, a marketing person, a sales person on your team and that team might meet once a week or once a month and just talk about what each department is hearing online and how each department can help each other in terms of the promotional things that they want to share online. A lot of companies that we’ve talked to have never had a multi-departmental internal team of any kind. So, social media is actually a great way to start this kind of internal collaboration that maybe has never happened before.