Why Your Company’s Social Media Efforts Are Failing
Finally – finally! – most larger companies are at least dabbling in social media.
In fact, a trend I’ve noticed over the past year is that many big firms are playing catch up, or trying to. I want to encourage that, not mock it. Sure, if this describes you, you’re late to the party. Way late. But welcome!
We’re glad you joined us.
So, firms are in there – feet now wet; Facebook fan page established; Twitter feed going; recruiting on LinkedIn; advertising on Glassdoor.
Yet I hear loud and clear, there’s a deep and swift undercurrent of discontent in management. The sentiment among many enterprise leaders I talk with is, “This social crap is all hype. We were right not to do it before, and we should probably pull back now. Social isn’t working for us.”
Whoa there, cowboys! You’re missing something key. I’ll sum it up in four words:
Open Media. Closed Culture.
Mark Babbitt and I are writing a book together, “How Business Will Be Done in a World Gone Social.” Is it a book about social media? Well, kind of. After all, we do discuss various aspects of social on pretty much every page, all the way through the book.
It’s actually a book about how to lead in this entirely new era of business. Social media is the catalyst; the change agent, like that giant asteroid that slammed into earth and killed all the dinosaurs.
A few years ago, the world went social: the asteroid struck. The dinosaurs, the Old Schoolers, they’re dropping like flies as we speak, because they can’t – or maybe they won’t – change with the times.
Whole industries are changing, for sure, and those are very obvious to watch. Music, movies, newspapers and magazines, TV – all of those are reeling, and it’s hard to say if any will survive; or if they do, what form they’ll end up taking.
But much more significant even than those industrial changes are the human ones. To name just a few:
- Social media enables customers with similar interests to find each other; customers who are no longer beholden to marketing departments or advertising agencies for guidance
- Job seekers are asking employees what their companies are really like, muting and sidelining the recruiting and PR departments
- Employees are collaborating with each other, as well as with vendors, customers, and even competitors, with or without corporate permission
- Prior to the social era, knowledge was power. Now, knowledge is diffused everywhere so the “powers that were” are impotent to rule
Social media by its very essence requires an open culture. If your company has trouble finding a return on investment for its social media efforts, I think I know why. Is it possible that your social efforts are failing because the openness of social is like a toxin (or a cure?) to your established corporate culture?
Before you tinker any further with your social media metrics or campaigns or anything else, I recommend you look at your culture instead. Yes, even a very top-down, command-and-control style company can get some results from its social efforts.
This is especially true for companies operating within a very limited scope, like troubleshooting on Twitter or gathering likes on your Facebook page.
But that fluff is barely the outermost layer of the social onion. To peel it, to find the delicious, transformative benefits of social for your organization, you’ve got to have a coherent match. Social is open; maybe it’s time your culture opened up as well!
Looking for some help with that transition? You’ve come to the right place. Mark, Shawn, and a number of our Leaguers are in the business of culture change.
We’re here to help.
Art by 1995levente