Social Media: An Inside-Out Approach

Image via Flickr from oskay

Image via Flickr from oskay

I’ve been thinking a bit more lately about social media and how organizations can effectively roll-out a social media strategy.  The most important factor that will lead to an organization to be successful with social media is internal adoption.  That is leveraging the power of social media within the organization first.

Organizations that engage customers with social media without first engaging their employees with social media are less likely to be successful.  I work at a higher education institution and while there are pockets of internal social media activity, the norm is to use traditional tools.  I constantly hear people talk about document collaboration being something like putting a Word document on the network share people work on the network share copy.  What about wiki’s, web-based document repositories, etc.  What about idea sharing, well that amounts to sending e-mails to interested parties.  What about micro-blogging service like Twitter or Yammer or maybe a social bookmarking tool like Delicious.

Without the employees in an organization fully understanding and appreciating the power of social media, how can the entire organization be successful?  Even if there are few ‘champions’ for social media on staff, failure is imminent without organization buy-in.

Some ideas of internal tasks that could be improved with social media are:

  • Document collaboration
  • Idea sharing
  • Brainstorming
  • Communication
  • Event promotion
  • Scheduling
  • and much more

There are countless examples of companies implementing successful internal social media strategies ranging from Best Buy to GE.  If you get anything out of this post, understand the need for internal adoption of social media is paramount for success.  Start with Yammer, or a blog, or even just some educational workshops to bring people up to speed.

  • http://twitter.com/ronbronson Ron Bronson

    I think the problem is endemic to several issues here: 1. Adopting these tools requires an understanding of their ability to increase productivity 2. the culture needs to be conducive for this sort of adoption and 3. you need a critical mass of people to buy in.

    So you make great points, Mike, but I think that people are just going to arrive at the mainland of social media in their own ways, when they decide the city is bustling enough for them to make it a worthwhile endeavor. Of course, telling them people have already set sail and they're going to arrive late doesn't do much good. They need to see it with their own eyes.

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    Thanks for you comments and I agree with your 3 points that need to happen. Unfortunately it seems like culture won't change until people have an understanding and people won't want to understand until the culture changes.

    Institutions want to proceed with social media because the bandwagon has started, but until these tools are adopted internally, they won't be very successful.

  • http://twitter.com/ronbronson Ron Bronson

    I think the problem is endemic to several issues here: 1. Adopting these tools requires an understanding of their ability to increase productivity 2. the culture needs to be conducive for this sort of adoption and 3. you need a critical mass of people to buy in.

    So you make great points, Mike, but I think that people are just going to arrive at the mainland of social media in their own ways, when they decide the city is bustling enough for them to make it a worthwhile endeavor. Of course, telling them people have already set sail and they're going to arrive late doesn't do much good. They need to see it with their own eyes.

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    Thanks for you comments and I agree with your 3 points that need to happen. Unfortunately it seems like culture won't change until people have an understanding and people won't want to understand until the culture changes.

    Institutions want to proceed with social media because the bandwagon has started, but until these tools are adopted internally, they won't be very successful.