I've not blogged for a while, I've been trying to finish my PhD, and I'm nearly there, thankfully. In 'hanging together' my PhD I was reacquainted with some early practitioner research I conducted. I think this part is timelier than ever as I see the tide of social media management beginning to change for the better.
An amended taste of some of my topic areas... Who in the organisation is responsible for social media management? How does your internal organisation infrastructure cope with 'social' communication flows? Do you have a social media policy? Have you adapted your social media policy in the last six months? Twelve months?
Now, back then I wasn't really getting much of a conversation. Policies had not been written and the marketing and PR departments were responsible for social media management. It was very common to have a few external agencies involved in the mix too. Fast forward nearly two years and I see the beginnings of change in social media management.
From my perspective social media is about the consumer or wider stakeholder, it always has been. Social media success is driven by consumer input. You can have the most fantastic campaign but it never grows legs because the consumer just does not get it.
Success is dictated by consumer response. However your organisation, brand or whatever is also on the receiving end of consumer behaviour which may not be explicitly directed for your attention. This is also the element of social media I am most interested in, consumer voice.
Not only is success determined by the consumer (or other stakeholders) in the pro-active strategies developed by you but also the re-active strategies you create to interact and engage with their content. As such the organisational 'social' structure must accommodate for how the consumers are attempting to interact with you. I use interact here because not all interactions are true 'engagement'. I personally believe engagement is overused and ill-defined in the realm of social.
For me, a true social media strategy is based on the consumer and developing a 'social business culture'. I've written and researched quite a bit on these topics. I've always been keen to see opinion on this. In some of the interviews I've conducted many don't believe in this strategy, it's marketing pure and simple. What's your opinion on this?
Marketing makes up a proportion of social media capabilities but it's more. I've been keeping a track on some developments in this area. This week, in Glasgow, The Customer Contact Association Conference has advised businesses to adapt to consumer use of social media. Thoughts on this?
I also read a guest post from IBM's social business manager, Alistair Rennie about what he terms 'social business'. It sounds like my concept of a social business culture. One reason I thought that social media implementation has struggled is because to really embrace the principles and power business cultures may need to be adapted. This is a massive ask of some organisations.
However it seems we are now taking steps to embrace social business cultures. I ask are the tides changing? How has social media changed for you in the last twelve months?
I know that here in the UK social media strategy (in general but not exclusive) is not as robust as in the States. Maybe I am seeing these changes from a UK perspective; you can let me know...