A question I hear often after any presentation about the implementation of a social networking platform at the workplace is: what advice can you give to companies starting their journey now, or willing to reboot their strategy? Well, my first suggestion is that you actually ask that question to a wide variety of practitioners, both successful and not-so-successful, as each experience is unique and not fully repeatable. Having said that, there are a number of items that I do see as key factors that can make a major difference towards a successful rollout. In this series, I’ll be listing a few you may want to consider, no matter if you are at the beginning of your social business odyssey, or in the middle of a pause-rethink-reset strategy. To start the series, I’ll tackle the question: with so many vendors of social platforms around, and all offering similar capabilities at first sight, does it really matter which one you choose?
A quick Google search for “social media best practices” reveals 102 million results. If you narrow that down to “social business best practices,” you’ll end up with still impressive 82 million results and change. If you start digging down the results, you’ll find something even more interesting: advice apparently as conflicting as:
“Focusing on adoption as a success metric will likely lead to failure because it engenders resistance” (Deloitte, “Social Software for Business Performance,” 2011)
“Ultimately, adoption is the leading indicator of social business success” (Forrester, “Mapping the value of social business and collaboration,” 2013).
As you try to make sense of what industry analysts, business consultants and the so-called social media experts are recommending, you start wondering if there is anything that can actually be called “a best practice,” or if anybody out there really knows what they are talking about. Is the concept of “best practices” just a myth, a fabrication out of our MBA schools? Should we downgrade them to more modest “good practices”? Or even a non-commital “it-worked-for-us” practices? It turns out that we need to be careful to not throw out the baby with the bath water.
When Web 1.0 first came to prominence, most companies were challenged by how to adapt their traditional business models to take advantage of web technology. While the idea of promoting one’s business through flashy websites was almost immediately understood, the concept of buying on-line was more threatening. There was substantial concern among businesses about the impact on their retail outlets and channel partners. IBM, although a leader in e-business, struggled with this decision and initially decided not to sell their computers online over concerns about disintermediating existing suppliers. When it became apparent that Dell was using direct buying to its advantage and was rapidly gaining share in the PC market, IBM had to change its strategy. Such is the nature of disruptive innovation. [Read more...]
You did everything you could to spread the use of a social platform at your organization. After months or years of effort and passion, you find that only a minority of early adopters – typically between 10 and 25% of the total target population – actually use the platform on a frequent basis. Even worse, you may find that there are as many haters of the new platform as there are fans of it. Then you start second guessing yourself, your implementation plan, or even the idea that social platforms can actually deliver the goods. If that is happening to you, you may be looking at the wrong target. By understanding what drives people to do things you may be able to create a roadmap that matches “needs” with “wants,” and perhaps reach the elusive target of total adoption.
On any given day, one can look at Twitter, Mashable, or any number of other sites and receive advice on how to use social media tools to improve customer outreach, loyalty, and employee engagement. Some of these posts are mediocre, while others are quite good and provide sound guidance and case studies. But, they all start with an assumption that social media or social business is an imperative and that all organizations should evolve to this state. Is this premise correct? [Read more...]