Building A Social Media Strategy? Be Sure To Include Your Intranet Manager!

This post was originally post by me at IntranetExperience.com in March, 2009. However, I felt it still applies since many companies are still trying to build their social media policies. I thought it might be a good idea to cross-post it here, with hopes that it can assist in the process.  Enjoy!

Ahhh…reinventing the wheel. It’s an age-old tradition for a lot of organizations, especially when it comes to changes in technology.  Some new class of productivity software comes along and the entire IT organization has to come to a grinding halt while a new strategy is defined. Remember stopping to define an ECM strategy? Or maybe it was an ERP strategy. Or could it have been an CRM strategy. Don’t even think about that amount of time and energy devoted to developing a .com or eCommerce strategy!

Sound familiar? Ever been locked in the “paralysis by analysis” situation where you can’t get anyone to decide because there are just too many so-called “experts”, “gurus” and “SMEs” guiding the conversation? Ever felt like you’d rather just DO something rather than sitting in yet another, non-productive meeting discussing what might happen?

Unfortunately, many organizations are living this situation right now when it comes to defining their social media strategy.  So many new tools, so many new rules, so many unknown risks…where to begin??  But the reality is, the questions being asked aren’t that different from those that have been explored in the past.

For instance, these are some of the questions/concerns facing the enterprise with respect to social media:

  1. How do we engage our customers?
  2. What tools should we use to listen to our customers, capture information, and interact?
  3. What do we do if a customer says something bad?
  4. What do we do if a customer says something good?
  5. How can we best learn from our customers to create new products and services?
  6. How can we make sure that we’re communicating effectively with our customers?
  7. Are there experts out there that can help us engage our customers?
  8.  Do we need to put policies and guidelines in place setting expectations for how we interact with our customers?
  9. How do we keep our customers coming back and engaging with us?
  10. How do we measure the Return on Investment (ROI) on customer engagement?

Sounds about right…Right? Now, flash back 10 years and see if these (slightly modified) questions sound familiar:

  1. How do we engage our employees?
  2. What tools should we use to listen to our employees, capture information, and interact?
  3. What do we do if an employee says something bad?
  4. What do we do if an employee says something good?
  5. How can we best learn from our employees to create new products and services?
  6. How can we make sure that we’re communicating effectively with our employees?
  7. Are there experts out there that can help us engage our employees?
  8.  Do we need to put policies and guidelines in place setting expectations for how we interact with our employees?
  9. How do we keep our employees coming back and engaging with us?
  10. How do we measure the Return on Investment (ROI) on employee engagement?

Sound familiar? These are the questions that organizations found themselves facing when they were analyzing the value of a corporate Intranet portal and the additional of Web 2.0 components like discussion forums, knowledge bases, and (more recently) wikis and blogs. Seems like very similar questions have been in front of organizations for a long time and, in most, serious time and energy has been devoted to answering the employee engagement questions.

My point isn’t to say that employees and customers are the same and the same rules should apply. Having worked extensively in the Intranet space and currently being very involved in defining organizational social media strategies, I will tell you that employees and customers are very different. My point, however, is that if you are in the process of developing your social media strategy and you haven’t invited your Intranet Manager to the table for the discussions, you are missing out on some potentially useful experience and input.

Maybe, by involving your Intranet Manager, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel….just modify one that already exists.

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