Companies that are trying to determine the value of enterprise social media tools are likely to find out that many employees are already using some form of social media or file-sharing program to swap information and ideas with others—whether the company leadership sanctions those activities or not. So what should executive leadership do?
The best thing companies can do is formalize an enterprise social media communication plan. Without one, an organization may expose itself to public relations issues, legal risks, or worse. Part of getting this right means conducting regular assessments of social technology use. These assessments can help organizations focus in on their social media strategies. Gathering the right information for a comprehensive social media evaluation comes down to the following:
Examining the main goals of an enterprise social media initiative should help define the applicable social media use cases. It should also identify what the competition is doing in the social media arena. This assessment should lead to a social media strategy.
Technology assessments should determine which external sites are in use, what tools are being used today, and which sites and tools are of significance but not being used. The bottom-line goal is to determine who is using what.
An external brand assessment should determine whether there are any unofficial or adverse presences or communities on external sites. It should also show who the influencers are for a certain page or community. If a social media site is not doing well, it should be closed because it may become a liability.
An inside culture assessment can show whether the organization is open and transparent or if it restricts access to social media sites, and if managers leading it are committed to support a social media initiative. These assessments should be done using the live interview technique with a facilitator in order to determine how real the answers from employees are. The facilitator can unravel the meanings behind people’s answers and determine who is being affected by the results.
Finally, a governance appraisal will determine if there is an in-place social media policy, if external social media content requires review before posting, and if there are dedicated controls in place. This includes information management, risk, compliance, and liability.
Once businesses have completed the research into these areas, they will learn where gaps exist and how to go forward with implementing a formal enterprise social strategy if they don't have one already. For companies that do have an existing social media strategy, executing a social business assessment as part of their regular business processes will hone their social media strategies and improve efficiency.
VARs can help customers with the development of these initiatives and then provide the tools the customer needs to make it all function in a profitable way—and in a way that will cover the customer’s butt from legal frays.
Are there other topics that need to be addressed in this blog on Enterprise Social Networking? Please comment below.