Decentralizing social media

Decentralizing social media

August 1

I came across an interesting article that was posted by Mike Rooseboom in November 2011, but was looking forward into 2012 to identify some key trends that would influence the way organizations think about and use social media. It’s very interesting reading, but one trend really stood out for me…organizations need to decentralize social media. In many organizations I’ve worked for in the past, social media content was very closely guarded and controlled. Heaven knows, something bad might be said about the organization which was strictly taboo. The funny thing is, as you’ll see below, the more sterile and pristine the content about the company is, the less effective it is because it is seen as contrived. Here is what Mike said about decentralization:

What we’re seeing is that social media is becoming integrated in to the whole organization. Ownership is spread and social media becomes a tool for conversation, not just a marketing, PR, or client services channel. And why? Because it’s now about people, not logos. Every employee should be a brand ambassador.

But there are risks in socializing your enterprise. You must relinquish control of your brand story, trust non-marketers to represent your brand, and accept an inconsistent brand message. But according to Paul Holmes, “the more consistent a company’s message, the less authentic it sounds. […] Any consistency should be organic – a natural result of shared values and cultural cohesion, rather than imposed by the message police.”

For PR and communications people, it will be vital [in 2012] to empower every employee and enable them to be the different faces of the company, each with a similar, but not identical, understanding of the company’s values. This means that cultural values must be communicated internally.

This could require a fundamental organizational change. If the employee is not ‘good’ at social media, or isn’t willing to be represent your brand in this landscape, you might have to rethink your hiring criteria.

That last sentence really struck me between the eyes, so I better make sure I’m up to speed on my social media skills. In fact, I’ll be asking for suggestions from you about topics that might be of interest or fun for you, such as, what’s the most creative way to destroy a server? That might be some good fodder for videos. Thoughts?