This concept of going from macro to micro must be the most significant development brought by the social Web. While in the past, the official position of a company was the *only* public position a company would have, today, a company's public face is a composition.
In fact, if it's done its job well, an organization could have a myriad voices, all different, yet all on the same cultural page.
Essentially, you would build the macro with a co-opetion of micros - from employees, to peers, to partners. If everyone in any organization could express themselves, unless you had an orchestrator, you'd probably have a cacophony. Not good.
Finding the hidden assets in an organization is just the tip of the iceberg, it's all that goes on underneath to educate, coach, and support them that makes a great deal of difference to how you design your business.
- How do you find those people within an organization?
- How can you enable them?
- Do we need to change the skills we recruit for?
Were the main questions. A lot more emerged during the conversation. Corporate social media is going from macro - the top-down one voice - to micro - the all around voices consistent with every interaction. During the chat, a few threads emerged. For Q1:
- follow the passion - for the business, the work, the company and brand
- find the touch points of opportunity - people on the front line, in contact with customers
- activate internal collaboration - chats, common tools, sort of like the company's water cooler
- check LinkedIn and social networks to see who participates already at personal level
- build internal networks and let those voices emerge
Will your company all of a sudden become social if the culture isn't? Chances are it won't. Those companies that already love their customers, shine that passion when using social media. So should every employee passionate about social media be seen as a representative of the organization?
While in most cases the dialogue and involvement must start with a commitment to transparency at brand level, passionate employees with no coaching could end up hurting the business - even when participation starts from good intentions. Think about inappropriate disclosures and behavior.
Someone at the tail end asked about involvement by sales. The caveat is that often sales groups are too eager to please and less cautious about disclosures. That's where education and training come in to gain perspective, business and marketing savvy. For Q2:
- activate the company vision and culture
- educate and coach for business savvy
- earn trust - this means having project credibility and authority
- set the example from the top
This part is really about creating a plan that gives guidance to the process and that is shared with employees who will be involved in social media. The general guidelines could include company's overall mission, positioning and "voice". I say they must delineate the objectives, a clear strategy, and the tactics that will help a company achieve them. Can you educate for "interesting"?
Organizations address negative comments, but there isn't a formal process to prepare employees involved with social media to deal with negative responses. How do you help them not take it personally and respond appropriately? More enabling techniques:
- prepare them for online dialogue - the negative, too
- guide them with a process
- share the vision and the objectives
One of the most powerful forms of self-awareness is playing back what you do for you to see. It's much more powerful than feedback, and it's a valuable coaching technique. We closed with the one million dollar question. Q3 - to change or not to change the skills we recruit for? Some further thoughts we shared were:
- we need more completers [thank you, Kat French for this one ] and fewer beginners - this is where the execution imperative comes in. It's also where many organizations mistake volume for effectiveness
- we want to have active listeners - this makes the difference between knowing what you're listening for and just hearing
- we want individuals who are willing to be coached and who have the ability to be engaging and to connect
Too many companies start with doing before they think about what they're trying to accomplish - and before they monitor to build a baseline. Companies have an opportunity to build the human aspects in the micro interaction that will make a macro impression on customers, partners, and employees.
Here's the thing - micro interactions will allow a richer experience than a sanitized macro message. Life is in details, we live moment by moment and gather our impressions the same way. The most effective form of connection is that we make at the emotional level. I don't know about you, I find it hard to tell a generic story. It needs to fit like a glove, and feel real.
And for the record, as sometimes tools that are not free are more powerful and appropriate to use, so is a professional who gets the business and can execute. The culture of free is a reality, but you do get what you pay for. Weigh in.
Thanks to Marc Meyer (@Marc_Meyer) and Jason Breed (@jasonbreed) for inviting me to curate this conversation and to the many participants: @JoeKikta @CathyWebSavvyPR @JGoldsborough @PowerfulHER @jonnytee @socialmediabham @mejohnson1 @HeyPeterman @semantic @BlakeGroup @djwaldow @DenVan @MiguelALlano @CharityHisle @vaspersthegrate @ckieff @jdojc @WriterChanelle @wvpmc @designdamage @augieray @tamadear @MKMartin @SaintJer @BethHarte @MackCollier @ShannonPaul @CatherinVentura @JeffHurt @MisfitToo @patgelado @KatFrench @missdestructo @thebrandbuilder (drop me a note in the comments if I missed you).
[Leonardo da Vinci and the Golden Mean]