Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big questions for social media strategy

Tom's updated The Building Blocks of Social Media Strategy diagram after a first round of feedback.

It's getting nice and simple. You can judge if its getting clearer for that.

I've got a few broadbrush questions to throw into the pot. I have in mind some answers - but I'd rather raise them first before joining in with my own responses.

Here's some things we might consider:
  • Let's think about the actions in each case. Perhaps this will help clarify the language? What is it that must be done to make the strategy reality - element by element?
  • And to help that, let's maybe consider the Purpose of this project. Why are we doing this? What wrong are we trying to correct? Are we fed up of the smoke and mirrors and misdirection that many are using in the name of social media? Are we attempting to invent a language to describe a new set of actions?

  • I thought it may be interesting to look at jobs, terms and processes which emerged as a result of the printing press (for a revolution of similar scale to the arrival of the networked world) and map that on to this project? (image courtesy)
For example there were scribes before and printers after. How would those people have started describing what they had to do to fulfil the strategic change? You'll be able to think of numerous other post-printing press roles and processesn - and results of these. How could that approach apply to mapping social media strategy?

Biggest question really is, 'the why,' though.

For example, if this is a project to reassure frightened people the result will be very different from one which is about evangelizing the truth - and different again from one driven by a desire to provide a toolkit for those ready to make fundamental change.
  • And then there's the scope.
Is this a 6-24month transitional model (to help broadcast mindset businesses make their move to the networked world) or a 2-100 year transformational model taking account of the fact that the network will disrupt where-ever it touches and that the eighth mass media is upon us?

Big questions. And perhaps only answered by more than one model?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks David.

    Where I'd like this to end up is to have this diagram as a focal point for conversations about social media strategy. It provides a reference point to begin working on it which is needed because my experience of having these conversations with organisations is that the area is actually quite huge when you map it out like this so it's sometimes hard to know where to begin, or how to explain how all of the different threads fit together.

    Then what we need is a number of different processes and tools that can be used to address an organisation's specific situation. Some examples are below. What's interesting to me is that many of these go much deeper than a marketing-focused agency is equipped to help with, but if they are not fully explored by an organisation then social media will become just another marketing tactic and the organisation won't fully develop to thrive in the networked world. Over time we'll see agencies getting more and more specialist at these different areas so a large organisation can bring in a world class expert in any of the areas that they need help with.

    No clear purpose and mission? Embark on a process to collectively develop a vision and mission statement.

    Closed, locked-down culture? Hire a culture change consultancy to help change how people work together and how management runs the organisation.

    Little awareness of what's out there on the network that's relevant to the organisation? Set up buzz monitoring tools. Perform a network mapping exercise to identify online communities and influencers in your space. Set up a measurement framework to help you to get some meaning from the data.

    No experience of working collaboratively and sharing in the network? Run seminars and training to demonstrate how these habits have been successful for other organisations and to develop the skills and confidence to bring them to the organisation. Send representatives along to informal industry meet-ups. Or if there aren't any, organise a hack day or a Barcamp-style 'unconference', or an event like Social Innovation Camp to get people working together.

    Old-school 'web 1.0' destination website? Hire a social media-savvy web agency to incorporate social features into the user experience where appropriate. Generate new ideas for web tools to facilitate open-ness, collaboration, sharing and re-mixing. Create your own web widgets and incorporate other widgets into the site. Hire an API specialist to help you to open up your data and content.

    No presence on the web outside of your own website? Hire a social media agency to train you to reach out into online communities in a way that will add value to them and be useful, or let them do it on your behalf.



The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?