Can you ease into social media?

I’ve been reading with interest the reactions to companies who have stumbled in the social arena. In particular on blogs outlining Habitat UK’s hashtag spam, those commenting reeled at the idea of having an intern execute such a highly visible part of the communications strategy. And yet at the same time there is disbelief around the policies in place for US Marines, US Open competitors and on game day for the NFL.

Closer to home, Mat Rogers tweeted his way into trouble with the NRL and at the Social Media Summit in Melbourne the heavily government based audience continually expressed concern at trying to have a two way conversation when it takes forever to get copy approved.

While contemplating whether companies should hire, outsource or DIY their social media strategy, JD Rucker states “having a poorly run social media strategy is worse than not having one at all”. At the same time Nancy Williams is adamant (as I’m sure many of you are): social media without conversation isn’t social media.

When it comes to sports and politics, the consequences of a social media stumble can mean more then just crisis communications. (And of all people to stumble, sportsmen and the public service seem to be the very best at it and I doubt your clear/strict/enforced social media policy is going to change that much.) This is based on rules and regulations set in stone long before the rise of blogs and Twitter.

So while those involved push for changes to allow a more open channel of communication, will we (the public, fans, advocates, constituents, lookers-on, social media mavens) allow them to approach the medium with baby steps? If they won’t let us comment, will we share their content? If they won’t publish our feedback, will we give them our opinion? If they can’t answer our questions, will we seek out (and trust) their advocates instead?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


~ by mandi bateson on September 7, 2009.

5 Responses to “Can you ease into social media?”

  1. […] Can you ease into social media? « stuff and junk – view page – cached #stuff and junk RSS Feed stuff and junk » Can you ease into social media? Comments Feed stuff and junk and so it begins Issues with your FBML linked — From the page […]

  2. I think there’s a huge difference between and individual tweeting and a corporation. You can tweet as an individual, and engage in any way you choose. No strategy needed.

    Tweet as part of an organisation (or actively representing that org.) and you’ve got a huge layer-cake of issues to get your head around. That’s why many organisations are creating social media guidelines for their staff to abide by. The barby conversation about your employer being crap gets broadcast to the world in this environment, so many are fearful of what their employees will give away.

    So organisations see social media as a something potential harmful. But they’re not yet in a position to understand how they can leverage from it. In many people’s mind this is still a grey area (if I invest resources, I might be able to respond to negative news, but how can I use it to shift more units or improve my share price?).

    We’re all on social networks to have genuinely meaningful and useful conversations. I’d like to see how a corporation could do this without everyone getting the feeling they’re being sold to.

  3. […] This post was Twitted by worldnomads […]

  4. It’s not just internal politics, guidelines, rules etc that get in the way. Sometimes there are serious legal issues around public disclosure – especially for listed companies. Falling foul of these can result in large fines levied against individuals as well as against the corporation.

    While I am all for corporations engaging in social media, there are pitfalls. You do need to get your internal processes right. You do need to align communications internally first. But if all this is taking too long, start listening anyway. It’s easy to do. Cheap to make happen. And it will tell you where best to focus your social efforts (ie go where the people are).

    Great post, Mandi!

  5. Some good points brought up, especially regarding regulated industries. There are a significant number of companies that legal is tied right into the marketing process before anything goes out which complicates matters for social media immensely. I’m probably going to get dinged for saying this, but, I do think there is a way and a need for companies to monitor and filter comments and responses. Having a strategy in place and guidelines to steering the conversation just needs to be in place. On top of that, steering the conversation should be done carefully so as not to overly filter causing contributors to feel significant censure is happening. Negative isn’t necessarily bad if it is helpful and constructive.

    In general, not being a part of the conversation will cause more issues for your company in the long run.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: