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The hard facts on how to get social media adopted

A new adoption framework for social media strategy

There are now enough examples and evidence to know which social media marketing strategies and tactics work and which don’t. Enough for organisations to move beyond the baby steps of adoption that typify where about two-thirds of the UK remain today.


The board of directors is usually culpable

The key issue in most organisations, particularly at board level, is they are still being held back by their failure to gain a fundamental understanding of the medium. Neither, perhaps as a result of this failure in understanding, are they recruiting the right calibre of skills into digital and new media roles.

I have interviewed and worked with scores of organisations concerning their plans for social media. Many say they now want to make social media strategic.

However, they put their hands up and say the issue is they don’t know what ‘strategic’ means when it comes to adopting social media in marketing and other corporate communications. So, I decided to help them by defining what ‘strategic’ means.

I am able to define ‘strategic’ after examining what companies are doing well and pointing to great examples of success; also by examining what holds other companies back.

I will not mention any names in this blog, mainly to protect the reputation of the laggards.


What strategic social media is not

Firstly, I can tell you that strategic does not mean employing a campaign manager or a creative marketing agency to take charge of your social media plan and run it for you.

Nor does it just mean setting up FacebookTwitterYouTubeGoogle+ or any other platform account, irrespective how funky your agency might make it look.

And it also doesn’t mean overtly promoting or advertising your brand, products or services in online communities – you will drive members away in their droves if you do this.

I am, however, compelled to say that most companies are still engaged in all three of these tactics with sometimes disastrous results or, at best, attracting a few passive ‘fans’ or ‘followers’.

So “What is the strategic approach?” I hear you cry!


What does strategic social media mean?

Well, the bad news is that getting the best from social media is not straightforward. It is resource intensive and demands a long-term plan of action.

The good news is the companies finding out about how to use this new channel are getting some amazing results.

I dare you to study this chart I produced!  It identifies eight business competencies that successful organisations are tackling to get their social media working. Please download the chart by clicking on the image below.


Industry regulation is no reason to ignore social media

Levels of adoption do depend of the legislation that applies to different industry sectors.

For example, the financial services and pharmaceuticals sectors are regulated, but this hasn’t stopped the more ambitious organisations to use social media to great effect. Take the Amex Open Forum online community for SME’s. This forum is held up as the benchmark for brand hosted social platforms. In contrast, I know of another credit card company that has banned use of all social networks and smart-phones, just because it seems to lack the necessary know how.  Guess who is losing SME market share?

Despite heavy regulation, Pfizer use social media forums to help support, educate and enthuse young scientists and school kids looking to go into the medical profession.


The right approach and the right framework

The right approach and framework is all you need to support social media implementation across an organisation so you can exploit the benefits and mitigate any risk.

Hopefully my framework will help you on the right journey, starting now.