My Crazy Prediction?

In September 2008 I made a prediction, that email as we know it today will no longer exist in 10 years time.

Read The Death Of Email by 2018

Will I be proved to be a:
or Fool?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Strategic advice and experience on making the most of  being social in the workplace

Entries in social media strategy (2)

Wednesday
Jun302010

7 Top Tips for creating The Social Workplace

There are many top tips out there when it comes to social media strategies, but many of these are based on theory. The top tips below are based on experience (and mistakes) on how to create The Social Workplace:

1. Social technologies enable the strategy, they don't define it
If I had a penny for every time I heard "I want to start doing social media, which Blog do you recommend?" I could afford to buy, and coach, my own England football team ...

The technology is important yes, but it's the last thing to focus on. Firstly, understand the social capabilities of your target audience; identify what you are trying to achieve; plan how you want to achieve it; and finally determine the right social technologies that will lead to success.

2. Do not under-estimate the cultural change
As mentioned in a previous post, I compare the change in culture in using social technologies to that of the early 70's, when people first began walking around with a large telephones strapped to their heads.

People will pick up the concept and benefits of being social in the workplace at a variation of speeds. Some will just "get it", some will need a bit of coaching, whilst others will need a lot of hand-holding.

I've had a lot of success with introducing a remote social media change workshop and is something I would recommend, along with identifying use cases.

3. Find the hook!
Approaching senior management with "I would love to talk to you about social technologies...." is not the way to start your opening pitch (or even for them to allow you to finish your sentence).

Be more bold, and find what is important to them. I often use "Would you like me to reduce your email by 50%?" as an opening gambit and that gets me a coffee and a seat.

4. Start small - Quick win - BIG impact
Trying to do too much too quick is going to have a negative impact and hamper any future opportunities to creating a social workplace.

So identify a solution that has a big business benefit with the minimum of effort. Once you have a successful solution under your belt you can crank it up a notch to the next level.

5. Be creative!
Utilise the right-side of your brain and use social media to explain social media, not large PowerPoint presentations with lots of tiny writing that forces people to squint. If they are reading your slides they are not listening to you.

By creating something that people talk about and share, will enable your message to reach a mass market in a socially connected enterprise much faster than the traditional communication channels.

This is an animated video I created with the help of my good friends at www.moviestorm.co.uk, to communicate the importance to Oracle's sales organisation of being more socially connected (with a little humour mixed in).

6. Be Passionate...
Creating a social workplace is a fairly new concept, and if done correctly can create much more effective and much more efficient business teams.

However it is a big change in culture as I mentioned earlier, and therefore you need to be passionate and resilient in your message before others are willing to believe and follow.

7. Stop, Think, be Social
And finally, before you next send that large presentation to 20+ people asking for their feedback causing huge irritations in doing so, take a step back and think "is there a better way of achieving my goal, a more social way?"

It is far too easy to slip back into the bad habits of traditional communication styles and methods so you need to regularly Stop, Think, and remember to be Social.

Tuesday
May252010

Going that extra Social Media mile

Here's a little experiment I conducted:

About 6 months ago I put two searches in my Tweetdeck (my tool of choice to follow what is going on in the twitter sphere), one for Web 2.0, the other Social Media.  Every 2 minutes I would be notified of how many new references were made to these particular search terms. After about an hour, the average ratio was about 3:1 in favour of Social Media. For every mention of Web 2.0, there would be three mentions of Social Media. Today, I conducted the same experiment, under the same conditions, and the ratio had increased to approx 12:1.

OK, this experiment is not conducted under strict labatory conditions but it does show a trend in how things have evolved, and it is supported by the fact that instead of having conversations with technical gurus about web 2.0, I am now having conversations with executives about Social Media.

But why has there been this sudden upturn towards Social Media?

It's because executives are beginning to take social media seriously, to see it as a game changer in not only advertising but also in customer engagement.

This might be an obvious statement but you would be surprised at just how many businesses feel they are already engaged in Social Media because they have a blog or a YouTube channel (in some cases multiple creating serious disparity in its message). That is like dipping your toe in the water and saying that you have been for a swim. You cannot approach social media in this way (remember the slideshare Social Media in Business: It's just a bunch of tools right?), you have to put in place a long term Social Media strategy. O2's Glen Manoff, director of communications and reputation, is doing exactly this and said in a New Media Age article recently:

"We're pulling our social media activity together into one place and creating a clear strategy and a consistent face to the world."

"There's a lot of crowdsourcing and people helping each other online, but the big role for us is to answer their questions about products. We want to participate more and help where we can."

Other businesses will soon start to follow O2's example, and begin thinking about their customers social activities and how they can engage better with them through Social Media.

But as well as an external social media strategy, you need to go that extra mile and develop an internal one to help engage the right employees and departments in responding to customer issues, questions and potential opportunities. As Mikal Belicove (contributing editor for Entrepreneur) wrote recently on how Starbucks is building meaningful customer engagement through social media:

"The magic of social media is that you can recognize the opportunity quickly. The challenge is in responding just as quickly."

In short you also need to socially connect your employees as well as socially connect with your customers. By socially connecting your employees you are also able to access their tacit knowledge, a commodity many companies forget to utilise (see my early post Social Media is the key for sharing tacit knowledge).

As you have probably seen on the news today, there has been a small upturn in the UK economy (0.3% growth), and businesses are now beginning to come through the recession. However the businesses that will continue to grow are those that have embraced social media and made it part of their long term strategy, externally and internally.

Is your business going the extra Social Media mile?