Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

I'm sitting in on Charlene Li's session on Creating Social Strategies at SXSW. Here's a brief overview of her very thoughtful and comprehensive presentation.

Straight off, Charlene defined "groundswell" - the social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.

According to Charlene (and from my own experiences), most companies are aware of this, but don't truly understand - they just don't get it. So how to go about getting a social strategy planned, created and adopted within an organization?

A word about radicals/revolutionaries
Are you going to be a radical like Thomas Paine? He sparked the American revolution, then continued to foment revolution in France. He became so radical that no one respected him any more.

Or a revolutionary like Thomas Jefferson? A more respected leader, even though he was a staunch defender of Thomas Paine - he worked with others, put plans into place and brought ideas to life.

POST - the process to create a social strategy
  • People - assess your customers' social activities
  • Objectives - decide what you want to accomplish
  • Strategy - plan for how relationships with customers will evolve
  • Technology - decide which tools/technologies to use
The ladder of participation (see below) is made up of creators (18% adults/39% youths), critics (25%/43%), collectors (12%/14%), joiners (25%/58%), spectators (48%/66%), inactives (44%/26%)
Age is a major driver of adoption. For a more detailed breakout of these numbers and fuller descriptions of each category, see Charlene's original post.

Traditional roles are changing under the groundswell, from more unidirectional to bidirectional. Some examples:
Research --> listening
Marketing --> Talking
Sales --> Energizing
Support --> Supporting
Development --> Embracing

How are revolutionaries doing it?
  • BlendTec - used YouTube videos for the now famous Will It Blend series. George Wright, BlendTec's VP of Marketing spent $50 to get this started.
  • Dan Black, director of recruiting for Ernst & Young used Facebook to connect with students. But he did so in a different way. Lots of questions were asked on E&Y's wall, and he wrote back in a very personal tone. Realized that this was one of the few channels to have a direct conversation with students.
  • Gary Koelling & Steve Bendt at Best Buy decided to start BlueShirtNation for Best Buy employees. It turned out to be a great support system for employees.
  • Josh Bancroft at Intel - created an internal wiki for employees: Intelpedia. He got it done quickly and without the usual corporate red tape. Demonstrated that people were already using it/contributing to it by the time management got back to him to discuss the idea.

How to get it done
Lionel Menchaca at Dell.com was a product tech guy, had been there for 17 years - he was knowledgeable and he was a connector. He realized that customer service + product development + blog = getting Dell out of hell. He got direct support from Michael Dell to keep going, personally address concerns & negative comments. Very quickly, the culture within Dell changed:
  • In the course of 2 months, they took customer suggestions and launched a new product.
  • DellShares - the Investor Relations team of Dell is now blogging.

Find & support your revolutionaries
  1. Find the people who are most passionate about developing relationships
  2. Educate your executives - teach them about the benefits, and actually get them involved in them
  3. Put someone in charge - someone who has authority
  4. Define the processes & policies - yes, the legal department may need to be involved, but it's best to outline it up front
  5. Make it safe to fail

Final thoughts:

  • Make it stick with frameworks
  • Start small, think big
  • Make social strategy the responsibility of every employee
  • Be patient - cultural change takes time

Update: If you'd like to see Charlene's slides, they're available on SlideShare.

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