In How to be a social media change agent (2008), interviewee Josh Bernoff provides insight and tips into how to integrate social media into the corporate world. He notes that anything that encourages people to connect with each other, and draws strengths from that connectivity, will generate success. Even if the success is initially small, by focusing on one brand or objective, businesses can create a foothold which may be elaborated on later.
Remembering that success is often measured monetarily, and that to some extent the monetary gain from social media is difficult to measure, the first step Bernoff encourages is finding someone high up in the organization (or with a lot of pull such as shareholders or an executive sponsor) to support the endeavor from the onset. Another important note emphasized in this interview, is the wisdom in starting right away. Engaging in forward momentum, and adjusting as needed throughout the process, creates more productivity than planning for a year or more, starting, and then finding out you were on the wrong track.
Bernoff also encourages comparing the accomplishments and attempts of others as a way of gauging what may or may not work for the company. Lee & Kotler (2011) also encourage researching previous attempts, concurrent attempts, successes and failures where comparable to the marketing one is preparing for. Similarly, Bernoff suggests making bonds and alliances with those in closely tied situations (i.e., endeavoring to bring a company onto the social media scene). As Frank Rose (2011) points out in Chapter 9, we are empathetic beings. Social media is not only a good venue for reaching those who share similar plights as we do, but it seems to me that making connections with those people may afford us the encouragement we need to continue fighting uphill battles.
Finally, Bernoff makes it clear that one of the most important steps in successful social media/business integration is a way to measure success. He relays the somewhat intuitive, but often overlooked note that being able to show evidence of gain, improves the changes that the program will continue to find support. Again, this is a notion that Lee & Kotler (2011) support.
In a post modern world, where connectivity and social media accessibility may mean the difference between success and failure, businesses are encouraged (and to some extent expected) to have an online footprint which allows a sense of comfort and communion from the consumers’ perspective. When individuals begin expecting that a company or business will be accessible by specific means, the company would do well to sit up and take notice.
Harvard Business Publishing (Publisher). (2008). How to be a social media change agent [Webvideo]. Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB9Npo3qtH0
Lee, N., & Kotler, P. (2011) Social marketing: Influencing behaviors for good (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Rose, F. (2011). The art of immersion: How the digital generation is remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the way we tell stories. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.