Enterprise 2.0 Requires Overalls

If you’re looking for overnight success, forget about social media. Snake oil salesman who tell you it’s easy (or it’s like magic) are NOT telling you the truth. Social media success, like pretty much everything else in life, requires hard work — thoughtfully and consistently done.  A recent Mashable piece, 3 Things You Need to Know About Social Media Strategy, makes this clear with the following advice:

  • Everyone Must Work Together – This definitely is easier said than done.  If your corporate culture is based on competition and bureaucratic infighting rather than cooperation and collaboration, you’ll have an uphill battle.

A company that hasn’t learned to listen to its own employees, and encourage them to collaborate internally, is not likely to succeed in integrating social media tools into its marketing mix, no matter what agency or consultant they hire.

  • Top Management Must Be On Board – Although you hear about social media as a grassroots phenomenon on the internet, it is a different animal when it is grafted onto a corporate culture.  Very little happens within an organization without top level support.  They control the staffing, the communications channels and, above all, the budget.

If the direction doesn’t come from the very top, managers, who have myriad reasons to fear change, will hang on to the status quo.

  • Don’t Expect Overnight Success – There is no such thing as “turnkey social media.”  You can’t just buy a tool and expect a social media revolution within your organization.  The first thing to realize that it’s not about the tools.  In fact, identifying the tool is the last stage of the process.  The first step is to understand what modes of communication and collaboration would best further your corporate strategy. Then, find a social media tool that will facilitate that.  If all you are doing is implementing the latest fad tool, your social media efforts will flounder.  And, even if you deploy the right tool for your needs, you should expect that it will take from 18 months to 3 years to gain significant traction.  That’s not my definition of overnight success. Is it yours?

If you’ve been under the illusion that implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools behind the firewall or launching an external social media campaign is easy, think again.  If you’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish one or the other with little or no pain, please let us know how.  In fact,  if you’re for real, you could probably charge a pretty penny as a social media consultant.  For the rest of us mortals, pull on your overalls and get to work because Thomas Edison could have been talking about social media when he said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

[h/t to David Gurteen for pointing out the Mashable piece]