Stuff like time management and goal setting and measurement.
But the real key to getting social media established in your organization isn't just having the toolbelt of skills and tactics and ideas. You need to be accountable what you deliver, other than just a vision and crossed fingers.
Objectives and Strategy
If you don't know what constitutes a measurable objective, it's time to learn. And if your social media strategy is lacking, buckle down and make it better. If you want your social media efforts to be taken seriously , treat them as such. Approach them as you would any other business endeavor that requires investment of time, intellect, and resources.
Shortchange the planning piece, and you're just tinkering. And good luck getting the boss or the board or the client to take you seriously.
Please stop telling me you can't measure social media. Yes you can. You can measure it as well as we've ever been able to measure things that impact the sales channel but are not the sales channel themselves. Communications. Customer service. Business Development. Public relations. Marketing. Infrastructure impact. Cost savings. There are plenty of old ideas that are still applicable, and plenty of new things to try.
Lots of social media measurements are going to be correlative vs. causal. Meaning you'll be able to show that your social media efforts align with progress toward other goals, but that you won't usually be able to prove that social media is the only thing that drove that progress. But so too with any of the other things I mentioned. That's the nature of business infrastructure. It's all related and interdependent.
The problem is that this requires systems thinking, and dedicated work, and too many folks are stopping at the "this is hard and I don't know how so I'm going to blame the medium". But no one said you had to nail it perfectly out of the gate. Get in and get your hands dirty, and learn.
Behavior (and Consequences)
What you put on the internet stays on the internet. Do we really need more reminders of that? If you're representing your company, your personal self, or a balance of both, it's not social media's fault if you screw that up. It's yours.
The instantaneous nature of online communication means it's far too easy to leave your filters at the door and just pop off about whatever's on your noggin. But there are real people and businesses at the other end of your communications. And that goes for you as an individual, and you as a business. Just because you can put it out there in real time doesn't mean you should. Good judgment is needed as much now as ever. Maybe more.
Rushing headlong into social media without any consideration for the culture, investment, risks, cost of success (yes, that's real), resources, and other business implications is just plain silly. The web will still be here in a few months while you get your ducks in a row, okay?
Responsibility for Outcomes
It's wonderful to be innovative. Creative. Experiment. I'm a huge proponent for those things, and always have been.
But that means you've got to own the results of your work, even if they're not what you'd hoped for. It's easy to own success. It takes courage and solid footing to own the "learning opportunities" that come with missing the mark. I'm not talking always about taking the personal blame (though sometimes that's appropriate), but first owning up to mistakes or shortfalls, then the most important bit:
Making a commitment to do something about them.
Learning and Adjustment
Listening isn't enough. Engaging isn't enough. Measuring isn't enough. You don't win a prize for doing any of those things alone.
The entire point of all of this stuff is to absorb, learn, and glean insights about how to make your business better for both you and your customers. Listening begets engagement in order to shape information and experiences. Measuring helps you see how well you're doing with either. But the real gold is a part that only a human can do, and in the part that'll be unique to each business: figuring out how what you hear, say, and measure has an impact on your entire business. Not just the social media part.
That might require something as old-fashioned as a meeting, or a discussion. Some analysis and critical thinking, or getting help with that piece. That might require talking to people in other departments that you've never met. It might mean having a tough conversation with your boss to kill a poor performing initiative, or stick with a new one that's not there yet, but shows promise.
A Court of Our Peers?
I happen to think we'd all be a bit better served if we stopped standing in such knee-jerk judgment of what everyone else is doing, and instead kept pushing each other to detail all of the above. To delivery the Almighty Case Study that isn't just filled with shining examples of glory and success, but the ones that help chronicle what went wrong. The hard decisions and choices that came up. The trial and error. The real world learnings that help shape our decisions.
It's awfully easy to say that someone should have done it differently until you've walked in their shoes, or offered a practical alternative yourself. There are so many opportunities for constructive accountability in social media that it utterly fills my mind some days.
We all have a vested interest in weaving social media into business as a legitimate endeavor. But that means we all have a responsibility, too, to model the change that we want. On the spreadsheet, and on the human end. To do the trench work, illustrate our learnings, and demonstrate why it makes sense.
Don't we? What does accountability mean to you? What else would you add?
image by AndYaDontStop
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