Without proof points and support, end users can easily stall your social business plans.
5. Identify enthusiasts.
Enthusiasm for social networking technology can be contagious, and social business success begets social business success. It is therefore critical to identify the social business enthusiasts in your midst and to give them wide berth to do their thing and show their stuff. "Another thing we've done is to try to push against open doors -- and by that I mean start with parts of the population who have a natural tendency to use these kinds of new work methods and engage the executives and other rock stars in the organization," said IBM's McCarty.
6. Trumpet social successes.
As employees begin to expand their use of social business tools, be sure to call out their successes. Where should you do this? Where else? On the company's internal, and in some cases external, social channels. This will create a kind of positive Catch 22. "Trumpet successes with social as a way to model new behaviors and practices," said McCarty.
7. Make it a job requirement.
Of course, people tend to care a lot more about something if their jobs depend on it. You need to tread carefully here -- you don't want employees feeling forced. However, it is a good idea to incorporate specific mention of "effective use of social business tools" -- or something to that effect -- into the communications section of employee evaluations.
8. Measure so it matters.
Speaking of evaluations, you need to be sure that you are evaluating what is and is not working with your social business initiative, and that you are sharing that data with employees. Only then will they be able to understand what moves the needle and how their role is related.
Key here is understanding that social business metrics may look different than traditional business metrics. "It's not a secret that social media requires different success metrics than traditional marketing programs like email or direct marketing," said Actiance's Carter. "Measuring clicks is not the same as measuring engagement, and the importance is on the message and exposure of that message rather than the number of likes on a page. Companies will need to define and track against metrics that show how connected a brand and individuals are to their networks and whether followers are sharing messages and content."
9. Be patient.
Employees will not become experts, or converts, overnight. For many employees, social networking is a huge cultural shift. The willingness and effectiveness with which they use social business tools depends on age, experience, whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert and a host of other issues. Organizations need to let their employees know that social business is critical to growth and competitiveness, and that its use is not optional. But they also need to acknowledge the scope of the change and let employees know that they are willing to be patient and expect some missteps along the way.
10. Listen and learn.
Those missteps we just mentioned? They will happen; it's almost guaranteed. The important thing is that you give employees a forum for reporting what's gone wrong and why, and that you then use that information to make changes for the better.
How is social business technology being received at your organization? What are some best practices for smoothing the path? Please let us know in the comments section below.
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