Social Media

Five Reasons Organizations are Failing at Social Media

It’s not Rocket Surgery

Social media isn’t complicated. When you boil it down it’s about listening to your constituency, being helpful by offering your knowledge and giving them interesting content to share and thereby advocate for you. There are many stories of how organizations have embraced social media to connect with and built trust and affection among their tribe. None of the examples required hyper-specialized knowledge or technology for a company to connect with people.

So why is it so difficult for so many organizations to successfully integrate social media? Themes consistent with each failure are detailed in this list of why organizations might be getting hung up.

1. They can’t talk about anything broader than their own products

If an organization or company is only talking online about its specific products or mission and not looking for ways to connect to the bigger picture, it’s pretty difficult for people to be engaged.

2. They listen to customers but don’t take any action

If you’re going to listen to your tribe, you’d better be ready to do something about what you hear. If an organization creates an online presence that’s open and allows feedback, it creates the expectation that the organization is going to do something with that feedback. Worse than not being heard is being heard and then ignored.
3. They aren’t calibrated internally with the technology

Many organizational Web sites is little more than online brochure. People expect interaction. Content creation is key to social media success, and every organization should have a Web site with a content management system that allows for quick, easy content creation without the IT department needing to recode a Web site. Anyone in the organization should be able to publish via a CMS.

4. They’re not framing risk accurately

A corporate blog has never been fatal to an organization. Often an organization’s entry into social media is a clumsy, shotgun blast and that there’s an equal chance of looking foolish by having a ham-fisted marketing department launch a social media presence as there is if a rogue employee “goes off” on Twitter. The risk of social media is not abated by not participating. And really, while there have certainly been some hiccups and miscues along the way, social media has yet to be the undoing of any organization.

5. Their internal culture isn’t aligned for social media success

The organizational administrators should be at the core of the brand. When policies, procedures, and processes become more important than the member, there’s no way social media efforts can be effective. When your administrative people are more concerned with what’s in or out of their job description than doing the right thing to help the members that’s not a culture that’s likely to build trust and advocacy for your brand. The goal is to have an organizational culture that makes social media work.

Simple, effective social media strategies have humanized organizations and allowed them to build better relationships with constituencies. But time and again organizations are either rejecting social media or participating in a way that defeats the purpose.

It’s not rocket surgery.

Contact Connie Amidei, Internet Strategy Consultant


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