Tuesday Sep 09, 2014

8 Steps to Become a Social Enterprise – Even With Silos

steps to social media managementA social enabled enterprise is one that activates social media across every department to the effect of optimizing internal communication and improving customer experiences. Despite those clearly positive benefits, it calls for root changes in how organizations are structured. That’s why even today, the struggle to infuse social rages on.


An easier blog to write would be to call for corporate silos to come down. We’ve done that…a few times. But the reality is many of those silos have the permanence of Stonehenge. Silos work for somebody, and those somebodies are defending them to the death.


Does that mean social at such enterprises is a lost cause? Nope. Let’s say the silo walls stay up. Here are 8 steps to becoming a social enabled enterprise anyway.


1. Accept What’s Going On

Adopt a birds-eye view of what’s happening in marketing and what customers now expect from businesses. They don’t see your departments, nor do they care. In every interaction, it’s just you, and them. If one hub falls short, the WHOLE brand gets blamed.


2. Name Your Change Agent

A mighty leader needs to take the reins of this effort. Preferably someone charismatic, highly respected, and passionate about the benefits social integration will bring to the customer.


3. Task Force Time

This leader must organize a social task force, pulling in representatives from every silo that will be affected. Each member must be an ambassador to their silo, represent their department, and reach authentic buy-in.


4. Endgame

Where are you headed? What does it look like when completed? How will it affect MY department? What does MY department have to gain from this? Each task force member should have a clear vision of the promised land.


5. What Can Your Tech Do?

Assess the tech tools and platforms each silo is using to achieve their goals. Knowing that people like to stay with what they’re used to, what social management platform has the ability to ramp up and integrate with most existing enterprise systems?


6. Re-Onboarding

Even if they’ve worked there for 15 years (in fact especially if they’ve been there that long) re-onboard all staff around the organization’s new priority to customer interaction and relationship building via social.


7. Nurture & Protect

You know all the great work that’s been done to nurture and protect the silos? That same fervor must now also go toward maintaining social as the lifeblood of how information courses throughout the enterprise; how it’s distributed and tapped into. Social data + enterprise data = the heart.


8. Post a Lookout

At this stage, your change agent’s focus should shift toward monitoring and assessing oncoming trends and developments in social, content, and marketing so, as to keep the org from having to play catch-up.


If you can’t tear down corporate silos, you can at least lay social across the tops of those silos so improved connections result. Given how orgs are still struggling, even this cursory approach will likely place you in the upper percentile of enterprises best positioned to deliver on the promise of social business.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday May 30, 2014

Are Chief Digital Officers the Result of CMO/CIO Refusal to Change?

Apparently CDO no longer just stands for “Collateralized Debt Obligations.”  It stands for Chief Digital Officer. And they’re the ones who are supposed to answer the bat signal CEO’s are throwing into the sky, swoop in and POW! drive the transition of the enterprise to integrated digital systems.


So imagine being a CMO or a CIO at such an enterprise and realizing it’s been determined that you are not the answer that’s needed. In fact, IntelligentHQ author Ashley Friedlein points out the very rise of the CDO is an admission of C-Suite failure to become savvy enough, quickly enough in modern technology.


Is that fair?


Despite the repeated drumbeat that CMO’s and CIO’s must enter a new era of cooperation and collaboration to enact the social-enabled enterprise, the verdict seems to be that if it’s happening at all, it’s not happening fast enough. Therefore, someone else is needed with the authority to make things happen.


So who is this relatively new beast? Gartner VP David Willis says, “The Chief Digital Officer plays in the place where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated, and the mission accomplished.” In other words, where the rubber meets the road. They aren’t just another “C” heading up a unit. They’re the CEO’s personal SWAT team, able to call the shots necessary across all units to affect what has become job one…customer experience.


And what are the CMO’s and CIO’s doing while this is going on? Playing corporate games. Accenture reports 38% of CMOs say IT deliberately keeps them out of the loop, with 35% saying marketing’s needs aren’t a very high priority. 31% of CIOs say marketers don’t understand tech and regularly go around them for solutions. Fun!


Meanwhile the CEO feels the need to bring in a parental figure to pull it all together. Gartner thinks 25% of all orgs will have a CDO by 2015 as CMO’s and particularly CIO’s (Peter Hinssen points out many CDO’s are coming “from anywhere but IT”) let the opportunity to be the agent of change their company needs slip away.


Perhaps most interestingly, these CDO’s seem to be entering the picture already on the fast track. One consultancy counted 7 instances of a CDO moving into the CEO role, which, as this Wired article points out, is pretty astounding since nobody ever heard of the job a few years ago. And vendors are quickly figuring out that this is the person they need to be talking to inside the brand.


The position isn’t without its critics. Forrester’s Martin Gill says the reaction from executives at some traditional companies to someone being brought in to be in charge of digital might be to wash their own hands of responsibility for all things digital – a risky maneuver given the pervasiveness of digital in business.


They might not even be called Chief Digital Officers. They might be the Chief Customer Officer, Chief Experience Officer, etc. You can call them Twinkletoes if you want to, but essentially anyone who has the mandate direct from the CEO to enact modern technology changes not currently being championed by the CMO or CIO can be regarded as “boss.”


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Nov 19, 2013

How to Staff Your Organization for Social

HelpEvery company is different.  One size does not fit all. But with social spreading and integrating into multiple departments across the organization, it might be nice to have a little guidance on just how to staff for social.


Much is written about a mythical creature that can run 5-6 social channels by themselves; from strategy to content planning to content production to interdepartmental liaison to campaigns to internal cheerleader to community management (24/7 on each channel mind you) to analytics to reporting…and for $50k a year. Legend has it they fly in on unicorns and shoot candy out of one hand and champagne out of the other.


Sadly, far too many brands caught flat-footed by social see its growing number of functions and applications and conclude the “smart” play is to stack multiple, highly diverse skillset expectations onto one soul vs. actually resourcing social for maximum impact. If they were running a baseball team, they’d be sending their catchers out to pitch.


Marketingprofs reported businesses with revenues under $1 billion most likely have 1-5 employees dedicated to social. Others have NO employee dedicated to social. A Ragan survey shows 65% of social media leaders do social as an add-on to their other work. This is madness and will result in a horrible social customer experience for your fans.


So what should you look for, and in what order?


Priority Hire #1: Nothing will happen without someone managing every social channel your brand is on. Don’t low-ball this person. They’re literally going to be the public voice of your freaking brand. Kind of important right? They need great judgment, which can’t be taught. They need good intuition for what content to curate. They need a cool head and stamina. And if this person is all you’ve got, giving them the right tech tools for social media management shouldn’t even be up for debate.


Priority Hire #2: Nor will anything happen in terms of the engagement that makes social so powerful without a content creator. Without content, you have a stage and you’re putting nothing on it. That doesn’t make sense. This person has to be a writer, journalist, entertainer, and audio-visual producer. They have to be amazingly prolific with an ability to keep their finger on the pulse of your topic. If you’re lucky, they can also construct and run your content strategy and content calendar.


Priority Hire #3: What good is building that audience and putting out all that content if you don’t know how it’s doing? Analyst-types are the polar opposites of creative types. If you expect your writer and video producer to also be the best social analysts available, think again. Great analysts live to watch those social metrics and crunch the data so strategy adjustments can be made ASAP.


Priority Hire #4: Now that you’ve got the people who do the in-the-trenches work, you’re next salary allocation can go toward someone who operates at a higher level to put the pieces together into a more connected, coherent strategy. This person is the conduit to the C-suite, assembles the social stakeholders in various departments for input, enlists employees in the social effort and sets policy, fights for paid social budgets and content budgets, and has their eye on the business goals for social.


Where should priority #4 come from? The debate goes on. A Creative Group survey of ad and marketing execs had 39% of them saying PR is best suited to oversee social, with marketing right behind at 35%...interesting given how marketing has driven the social initiative to this point. But for all social hires, worry more about innate applicable talents and genuine passion for social over resumes and where they came from.


What all social hires (and the people hiring them) should grasp is that social is an around-the-clock, around-the-calendar affair. And if business is becoming more about marketing, and marketing is becoming more about trust & relationship building, and trust & relationship building is won via content and social…then look for such practitioners to continue becoming business’ most sought-after, in-demand MVP’s.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Feb 22, 2013

Community Managers: What, Who, Where, Why

trophyWe recently presented VistaPrint’s Jeff Esposito with the Oracle Community Manager of the Year award. The trophy is tall and shiny so we think he liked it. We read Jeff’s CM wish list, but we thought it might also be a good time to further remove any mystery around the CM position. What is their true role? Who makes a good CM? Where do we find them? Why are they so critical?

What?

CMs are the bridge, the conduit, the front lines, the therapists, the entertainers, the advocates, customer service, the curators, the moderators, the publishers, the ambassadors, the face, the spokesperson, the brand personality, (I could go on).

In short, this person IS your brand. Given the enormity of that, the way the CM position has traditionally been staffed and resourced has been stunningly ill advised. Businesses are realizing it’s not a role that can be squeezed in as “part” of someone’s duties.

If your brand is a show, your CM is the host. Don’t be shocked if sometime in the very near future, the CM goes from one of the lowest paid to one of the most coveted, highly recruited positions at a brand. Their innate talents of entertaining, informing and relationship building are largely intuitive and organic (I know, two words not in most corporate dictionaries).


Who?

So how do we recognize the best ones?

  • They believe in your brand and products. They see the value proposition and genuinely want to tell the world.
  • They’re autonomous. It’s 24/7, always on. Attempts to impose a punch clock environment show a lack of understanding of the job and won’t end well.
  • They’re agile. Social technologies and behaviors change fast and often.
  • They’re creative and consistent. You can’t start a social channel then vanish.
  • They know how to communicate short, clear, and visually.
  • They know their audience.
  • They’re smart enough not to use social for desperate, aggressive pitching.
  • They’re patient and have thick skins.
  • They recoil at corporate marketing-speak. They communicate as human beings.
  • They’re good listeners.
  • They cultivate go-to people internally so they can get fans the answers they need.

radarWhere?

So with an order that tall, where do you find these amazing people? Here are some suggestions…some expected, some out-of-the-box.

  • For big brands, draft CMs at smaller brands. Dazzle them with your grasp of the importance of the position.
  • PR People - used to representing brands, used to coming up with attention-getting ideas.
  • Radio Personalities - go on the air for hours at a time daily, creating original, compelling content that attracts, builds and holds an audience. Sound familiar?
  • Your Biggest Fan - They deeply self-identify with your brand. Could there be a stronger fan-advocate?
  • Writers/Journalists – great at knowing their audience. Very little content was created without a writer first sitting down at a blank page and making it un-blank.
  • Political Managers - a CM is trying to win their brand top of mind awareness, “votes,” and serve their constituents.

Why?

Why is it more important than ever to secure the right CM? Brands now understand social is not about fan-collecting. It’s about productive engagement, which is driven by content and relationships. If you have successful connections and relationships on social, they were built by a CM not a faceless corporation.

Get the right person or people. Let them practice their art and win for you. Encourage them to be forthcoming about what fans are saying, good or bad. Resource them with tools that help maximize their time and capabilities. Then enjoy the rewards of being a brand that took the Community Manager role as seriously as it should be.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng


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