Is your organization ready for social media?

Social media has been a hot topic for several years, but as Praveen K.R. writes in this guest post, many organizations still aren’t prepared to take advantage of it. 

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Seattle-based software giant Microsoft had been in a holding pattern, struggling with the doldrums of corporate middle age.  The company has grown vastly with a base of 200,000 software development and value-added reseller partners.

This company was struggling under its own weight. With its sheer number of employees and clients, any immediate response was water on ashes.

Release of the vastly criticized Windows Vista in 2007 has not helped it anyway in this period. In 2009 Microsoft conducted a survey with its partners, just 26% said they were satisfied with the company. In comparison, 64% felt that they weren’t valued and that Microsoft lacked proactive communication—expressing a strong desire for improved support and communication.

Microsoft executives concluded that swift action was necessary to avoid losing the critical partner relationships that had been instrumental in making the company a success.

A key insight in their analysis was that existing channels of communication — such as emails, presentations and events — had lost their effectiveness in this fast-paced Iinternet business.

They formulated a strategy towards social media, a medium that can broadcast a company’s plans, presence and products.

Ask any Fortune 500 executive, small business owner or sole proprietor what the most effective form of marketing is, and I guarantee the answer, without hesitation, is word of mouth.

In this digital age Word of mouth is people tweeting on Twitter, liking on Facebook and pinning it on Pinterest. It’s not a new concept, but an old concept done in a new way.

Formulate a strategy

Your company’s Social media strategy should tightly integrate with the business model. Here are some keys to keep in mind:

  • Know when is the right time to release product news on your Facebook or tweet about an event. This is a media that’s not only effective in broadcasting news but also effective in damaging reputations. As a company you need to build teams that can respond autonomously in leave of leadership for incident response management, which monitors and controls social media reputation.
  • Design a training program that makes all your employees aware of social media usage, social media security issues and Intellectual Property protection. Your organization’s IT department should have the ability to track inappropriate use of intellectual property.
  • Identify policies that clearly identify both employees and customer/public social media activities that effect the company’s reputation.
  • Define policies for identifying business justifications for spending budget on social media activities.
  • Your IT department needs to project the growth and use of IT resources for Social media presence. For example, an option to publish information about your company and its products can have a significant impact on bandwidth and data storage resources.
  • Monitor employees publishing their own unfiltered opinions and experiences through easy-to-use and massively distributed social media technologies.
  • Have goal metrics planned that would justify human resources allocated to social media.
Creating a social media strategy requires an art of balancing between communications with your customers, protecting your intellectual property and revealing of strategies to competitors.

Please leave us a comment or share your experience in building social media strategy for your company.

About the author: Praveen is a full time consultant for Fortune 500 and part-time writer. He has written many articles about careers, effective team building, Microsoft Office, management, productivity and using technology at work. He has over 10 years’ experience in business consulting for various technical solutions.

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