Implementing Social Media into a Large Organisation

April 25, 2011 · 6 comments

Having been in this position for over two years now, within two separate companies, I just wanted to share some quick tips for others who are also implementing social media into a large organisation.

Let’s face it – the highs can be pretty amazing and the lows can be very frustrating, but I think there are key internal actions that need to be taken to ensure a level of success. These can apply to almost any social plan that is in place:

Get Buy In

You’re not going to do this on your own. You will need the help and buy in of others. Whether this is members of your team, leaders of different departments, the new receptionist or the longstanding Chief Exec, the support of others will play a crucial role in your long term success. Buy in isn’t just about ‘selling’ social media – you will need to…

Show The Benefits

Not everyone is going to share your enthusiasm. This is normal and to be expected. People will be used to achieving results using their own methods and won’t have thought about social media in half an much depth as yourself. It is your task to show them the benefits and relate them directly to their job role and daily tasks.

Communicate Your Plan

If you want others to sing from the same hymn sheet, you need to find effective ways of delivering it to them. The way in which this is done can change depending on how comfortable your staff are with different types of communication and the logistical implications of each. Meetings, presentations, phone calls, emails – a personal, two way approach should always be preferred but ultimately your plan needs to be shipped and awareness needs to be raised.

Change Your Plan

Markets will change, technology will change, your company will change and people will change. If you put your head down and work away for 12 months without reviewing and possibly changing your plan, you may end up wasting your time. Online behaviour and social platforms are evolving all the time, and your plan may need to evolve with them.

Be Social

Don’t sit in a corner and hide yourself away. Become the face of social media. Be social and ensure that as many people as possible are comfortable approaching you with questions and for help. If you want others to work with you, share your enthusiasm and aim for the same goals, you need to go out and build relationships.

Use a Fear-Free Policy

If you’re asking others to use social media as part of their job, don’t scare the living daylights out of them with a policy that sounds more like a law. Your policy should protect both parties and provide clarity, but ultimately it should encourage staff to use social media to assist with their job roles.

Empower Evangelists

When you do find staff who share your passion for social media and who really want to contribute, let them. Their enthusiasm is invaluable and adds weight to your efforts. Feed this passion, direct it into the right areas and empower your allies.

Shout About Success

Why keep the good work of yourself and colleagues under the radar? If you’ve had success, share it. This will keep the strategy in people’s minds, it will recognise the good work of staff, it will maintain positive attitudes across departments and offices, and it will help to build momentum.

Prove Your Results

The ROI question could be thrown at you at any time (and so it should be). Be fully prepared to talk about the results of your social activity and to share them. Results build credibility, belief and help to dispel fear.

Build Small Steps

Rather than setting a single goal far off into the distance, set smaller, constant goals that will help you achieve your ultimate aim. It’s likely it will take time to see the full results of your actions, and your plan may change along the way anyway, but putting small steps in place for everyone to follow will  help to maintain focus and keep motivation.

Encourage Ideas, Creativity and Collaboration

Others within your organisation WILL have great ideas. These ideas may improve the way in which you use social media. Start conversations, get their creative juices flowing and jot those ideas down. You are far more likely to develop an exciting and innovative online approach if you allow others to contribute, rather than controlling the whole process yourself.

Stay Motivated

The nature of many large organisations is that change takes time and that there are  many decision makers. For these very reasons, it won’t be plain sailing for every minute of everyday. Self motivation and visible enthusiasm will rub off on others, so remember to try and…

Have Fun

You are in a cool job. FACT. Enjoy it.

I hope some of those were useful. Most, if not all, can probably apply to many challenges across many business and within many industries. Rather than go into too much detail though about the ins and outs of specific plans, the type of social strategies that can be used, and the’ right’ and ‘wrong’ ways that companies can be using these social tools, I just wanted to share some general advice which I think will apply to almost anyone in a similar position.

Do you manage social media within a large organisation?
What key internal actions do you think contribute towards successful implementation?

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  • http://www.jedlangdon.com/ Jed Langdon

    Excellent post Rob, and brilliant advice for anyone introducing social media into an organisation. Furthermore, being someone who is not in a social media role, I can say thay your advice can also be extended further to other change initiatives within an organisation.

     There are two pieces of advice that particularly strike a chord with me: ‘Empower Evangelists’ and ‘Shout About Success’. The reason I particularly like these is because, as with any change initiative, they are vital in acheiving your first tip ‘Getting buy in’. You can’t own the intiative yourself, you need to create a group of people whose enthusiasm is going to win over the doubters. With a network of people in place, who are positive and enthusiastic about your mission and with success stories to share the naysayers will see the difference you are making, which will always make it easier to win them over. 

    Great job sharing your experiences!
    Cheers,
    Jed

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Thanks Jed.

    Empowering Evangelists and Shouting about Success really can help to build momentum. Shouting about Success probably happens less than it should for many functions with large organisatiosn, not just social media. Most people like to be recognised for their good work though – it is an important part of job satisfaction.

    Empowering Evangelists can also make the social media part of their job, well, seem less like work and more like fun. This is also really important and helps to maintain interest.

    You’re right – a strong network of people will make the challenge easier – and more fun and productive along the way.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Rob

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Hey Robert. This stuff is huge. I particularly align with being social yourself and letting people know your approachable. You also make a HUGE point in talking about the fact that you have to really explain the benefits to people who haven’t thought that far into social, and the many currencies (besides money) you can create (like people sitting at breakfast talking about your brand). Very solid post man.

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Hi Ryan,

    I think many of us who eat, sleep and breath social media forget that not everyone is like us! They are not all as obsessed and are sometimes not aware of the direct benefits they can gain. Sitting down and going back to basics is sometimes needed.

    Re: people sitting over breakfast and talking about your brand – that is a nice way of looking at it. WOM is huge. The companies who provide real value in following them, provide great customer service and provide great experiences will benefit both online and offline. Seth Godin’s quote “remarkable products get talked about” is one of my favourite. If you’re remarkable, people will make remarks about you! So simple. Social media provides such a fantastic opportunity in that respect.

    Thanks for popping over and I really hope to chat again on Twitter sometime.

    Thanks

    Rob

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    That’s just it. We live it, so our brains our saturated in the realities of social media. 

    Yea man, I think that’s a currency (people talking about your brand). I’m massively fascinated by the fact that social media creates other currencies, that will eventually contribute to the main currency. Definitely align with the Seth quote, he knows.  My pleasure man, loved our convo yesterday, I’m sure we’ll chat it up soon.

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