There are many, many companies out there right now looking to drop costs, increase ROI, and some even looking to jump on the social media bandwagon. The recent spike in social networking site traffic has made it the shiny tool set of the moment. The question in many instances is; Should your company be using social media? and why? Is your organization committed to engaging in the conversation with both evangelists and detractors alike? This post hopes to be a Fill-in-the-blanks sort of post, and could extend way beyond my simplistic comparison of how social media is like a golf club. Please leave your thoughts an comments below, I would love to hear your suggestions and opinions.
Social Media on a corporate level is very much like a golf club
The Grip- At the top (CEOs, COOs, CMOs) you’ll find that many folks in senior management roles need to be taught about social media. The times are changing very rapidly and large cumbersome companies are looking for ways to become more nimble and agile. In other words they need to get ‘A Grip’ on the tools and why or how they would use them to reach their goal and objectives. In my opinion dropping some information on a Facebook page or creating a Twitter profile hardly represents activity in social media. In fact in doing this a company can often do themselves more harm than good by entering the space just because they can rather than because they have put thought behind it. There is a certain level of engagement that needs to take place, and often a period of discovery that should take place. Web 2.0 and social tools are inherently social. Blogging, Podcasting, using Twitter, and Facebook all take time. If you are an employees of a company and using the social media space for personal use don’t be afraid to go to the top and help your senior management ‘get a grip’
The Shaft – Maybe your company or organization is already involved in social media. What are best practices? Where should you be? If you create a twitter profile are you just going to leave it dorment or will you work to build your “Social capital?” This is the shaft of the club. The shaft of a golf club is specifically tailored to the user. The shaft can be as stiff, medium or flexible to fit the needs of the player.
This is the same thing in social media! Your organization has to make a decision up front as to how stiff or flexible they will be within the social media sphere. Do you empower your employees to blog, become active in social spaces like Twitter and Facebook? What type of policies will you have? Some companies like Apple that want to control every aspect of their branding and image will not allow employees to blog as part of the apple organization. Other companies like Dell, Comcast, and Best Buy have scores of community managers that are helping with everything from marketing to customer service in the online space. How flexible will the shaft of your organization be? This will ultimately influence overall results and may take some experimentation to see what works best.
The Club Head – So at the top you have the grip which transfers to the shaft and ultimately the work done there will transfer the to head of the club. This is where you make ‘Impact’. Results from the grip down through the shaft will greatly improve or reduce the overall drive of the golf ball. You see where I am going here? If the upper or senior management (Grip) is not giving support, does not understand or fails to integrate with the social media team (Shaft) then chances of hitting the ball long, on target, or accurately (Club Head) are very slim. Like anything else, the team must be on board and integrated well with the whole or things just break down.
A well fitted club
Social media and it’s effects on the bottom line of any company are still in many cases unproven and unknown. However, many companies that have engaged social media outreach and strategy into their daily practice and organization are starting to see meaningful results. How is your company using social media? Should your company be using social media? Does your company have rogue social media users that should be embraced or maybe pulled back on?
Answer these question before saying you want to jump into social media. Contact someone who lives and breathes this space. Hire a consultant to give you options and get educated first. Then when you ultimately decide to take swing you’ll have a club that fits and you wont be playing on the PGA tour with a set of Cheap Rental Clubs.