Yes, Your Subject Matter Experts CAN Love Social Media!

Social-media-for-public-relations1Companies are constantly barraged my marketing professionals with the message that social media is social and even companies should not be pouncing on their followers, friends, and likes with nothing but sales messages. “Provide rich useful content,” they say. Yes, great idea. BUT, rich content within a company generally comes from subject matter experts (SMEs), who are sometimes as excited about social media as a trip to the dentist. On top of that, if there is an engineer or technology expert who is willing to represent the company and garner followers – what happens to the brand identity if that person builds a following and then leaves the company? It’s a puzzlement shared by most companies and organizations trying to get comfortable with how to interact on social media.

This is compounded by the fact that every social media platform has a different set of rules on how one can and must perform on their site. Every Facebook page must have a profile that owns it. Twitter simply has no way to track multiple individuals who post on a single account. LinkedIn is the most multi-user friendly, but even it can be intimidating.

So how do you, as an organization, make social media work? Until and unless social media becomes more company friendly, we suggest appointing a single point of social media management, or build a social media team. This can be within your organization or an outside resource. This central management monitors posting, so the flow of information is steady and well orchestrated. The central social media management can also help to reduce redundancy, emphasize important messages, and be sure that all areas/divisions/product lines of the company are being represented in content. This team should be well informed and understand social media thoroughly. It also helps if they have a grasp of marketing since this is not a job for an intern. It needs to be high level, strategic, and consistent.

Maybe you incentivize your SMEs to provide content to the social media team on a regular basis. Participating in the social media program may be an objective in their job description or the source of a bonus of some kind. In many cases, the SME will also receive credit – such as on a blog or a LinkedIn post which builds credibility as an industry thought leader. On tweets and some Facebook and Instagram posts, their names generally won’t be mentioned, but a single piece of interesting data can be spun into multiple posts. This not only serves to enrich your social media participation, it warms up your experts to the idea of social media without having to place huge pressure or time demands on them. We’ve noticed some SMEs become real limelight lovers in a short period of time.

Find good resources to serve as your social media management and do not overburden them with too many rules. Provide general guidelines, but to some degree, social media is spontaneous. It’s about listening and reacting. If your social media team has to have every comment approved and/or tweeted in triplicate, your social media program will bog down under the weight and your efforts will be futile.

Social media is here to stay. Every company needs to have a social media presence as much as they need a website. These guidelines give you a place to start.

The 4 Stages of Disruption

Steven Sinofsky of the Harvard Business School has written a terrific piece that he posted on LinkedIn this month.  Definitely worth reposting for our technology community.

The 4 Stages of Disruption

By Steven Sinofsky, LinkedIn

Innovation and disruption are the hallmarks of the technology world, and hardly a moment passes when we are not thinking, doing, or talking about these topics.

While I was speaking with some entrepreneurs recently on the topic, the question kept coming up: “If we’re so aware of disruption, then why do successful products (or companies) keep getting disrupted?”

Good question, and here’s how I think about answering it. Read more HERE.

9 Big Ideas That Will Define 2014

2014Recently LinkedIn asked its top influencers to pick the “big idea” that will most impact 2014.  Here’s is a recap of that article that was written up in the Business Insider:

The Year of the Entrepreneur
Richard Branson writes that, “Technology is helping every business, large and small, to move forward, which will only increase in the coming year.  Now, entrepreneurs can build companies at a fraction of the cost compared to the past.  All the little things that used to add up to big headaches for new businesses, from accounting to website development, are now available to small businesses, giving them the same capabilities as large enterprises at a cost they can afford.”  What an exciting thought!

The Meaning of a College Degree Will Begin to Change
Jeff Selingo, a higher education expert, discusses the importance of focusing on what people have learned – thinking beyond the 120 credit hours of college courses:

“Here’s how it basically works: Students demonstrate mastery of a subject through a series of assessment tests or assignments, instead of following a prescribed set of courses,” Selingo writes. “Faculty mentors work closely with students throughout a degree program to design a schedule and access the learning materials they need to demonstrate mastery and then another group of course evaluators grades those exams, research papers, or performance assessments.” Selingo believes that, “We need to focus on what people learn.”  I agree.

Your Online Activity will Become a Data Mine for Recruiters
Lou Adler, a career expert, has created a 10-point list of online activities that soon-to-be job seekers engage in.  Click here for that list and the rest of the Big Ideas for next year!

Breaking Bread Together

Most of us think about the colonists and the Native Americans sharing a feast together around this time of year.  Here are a few things you may not know about the “Thanksgiving” holiday:

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     Native Americans had been in North America for many years before the colonists came, and more than likely they celebrated their own harvest each year, long before 1620, so to call the 1621 celebration the “First Thanksgiving” is a myth in and of itself.

  • The first Thanksgiving in 1621 between the colonists and the Native Americans was held sometime between September and November and the feast celebration lasted for 3 days.
  • Originally, Thanksgiving was a multicultural community event – it was not just about family.
  • The colonists never called themselves pilgrims.
  • On November 26, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced the 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation hoping to promote a more unified nation after the end of the Civil War. He announced the official Thanksgiving holiday (fourth Thursday in November) in gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg that same year.
  • For the first Thanksgiving, the colonists did not dress in black (only on Sundays) and they did not wear those funny buckles and shoes your kids draw in school around this time of year.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Puritan colonists were fun people, and they liked to laugh and wear bright colors!
  • Corn, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and cranberries were not on the original menu – however,  the colonists may have included cod, eel, clams, lobster and even seal in their feast.

Well, however you celebrate the fourth Thursday of November, Strategies hopes that you enjoy the company of others while you feast on whatever is your delight!