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Company social media strategy reflects organization culture — marketing

Toby Elwin Blog, Marketing, Organization Behavior 2 Comments

company, social media, policy, organization culture, Toby Elwin, Gandalf

Social media policy you say? I say: you shall not pass!

If you want an idea of organization culture a company social media strategy provides a view. Companies who look at social media as a marketing vehicle miss far more than customer engagement.

A company with restrictive or minimalist social media reflects an organization culture, most likely, missing employee engagement well before social media meritocracy and transparency threatened the culture landscape.

Further insight?

Insight into corporate, social media strategy lends insight into governance.  Insight into social media management lends insight into employee management.

A company marketing strategy and the people who lead, develop, and execute that marketing strategy, are a proxy for organization culture.

Culture by Any Other Name

The debate, to blog or not to blog, is much more of a debate on culture:  to engage or not to engage? Do you know if your organization culture might be:

  • Theory X?
  • Paternal?
  • Hierarchical?
  • Parochial?
  • Siloed?

Not sure? As an employee, you don’t need to work on the social media team to can gain insight into your company culture. How you answer some of these social media questions provides clues:

  • Do all employees have access to social media sites from their computer?
  • Does your company allow comments on the corporate web page or Facebook page?
  • How easy does your company make it for people to forward, print, or email company pages or posts?
  • Have you reviewed the company social media policy?
  • Do you know where to find the social media policy?
  • Are you aware if there is a social media policy?

Your company social media provides insight into so much more than marketing. If you work in marketing you have additional insight into your company culture. How you answer some of these social media questions provides clues:

  • Before new site content or blog posts upload how many layers need to sign off?
  • Does all content require legal review before approval?
  • Are people assigned to ghost write blogs for leaders?
  • Does marketing review web analytic data such as bounce rate in an open cross-department effort to improve content?
  • Are calls to action analyzed and optimized on webpages, items that enable to “like”, forward, print, or email?
  • Are people in each division or department writing content?

Restrictive, bureaucratic, controlled with no place for dialogue or comment, little or no training for talent development?  Answers to these reveal to a bigger issue than social media.

Or is your organization culture:

  • Theory Y?
  • Flat?
  • Open?
  • Matrixed?
  • Transparent?

Not sure, well:

  • Does your social media strategy use social media press releases?
  • Provide internal access to social media sites?
  • Post blogs penned and written by who it says wrote them?
  • Do departments write their own web content and openly share site data and metrics?

Can’t Talk Culture If You Can’t Live Culture

Collaborative, engaged, high-trust, diverse, innovative, flexible, talent development as an investment in training and retaining the best. Answers to these reveal bigger issues than social media.

I wrote in a prior the similarities between social media and organization development the strength of the best organization cultures rely on a work environment that includes:

  • Involvement,
  • Communication,
  • Listening,
  • Collaboration

Your organization can not have an open social media strategy if your current organization does not have faith with involvement, communication, listening, collaboration, or the final trump card: transparency.

The best social media companies rely on transparency for others to easily find and share information about your company’s goods and services.

The best social media companies only edit site comments against spam bots not fear of negative comments.

Good social media companies already leverage transparency and involvement of others to provide feedback and gauge company message relevance.

Culture That Enables, Not Disables

Mature social media company policy shows, documents, and leverages open trust for internal employee access to sites while at work. Access based on a level of trust, not a level of distrust.

The strong company knows they hire, train, and communicate with their employees the expectation for web access and company information.

Laggard companies continue to manage in a pre-World War II, management philosophy of command and control.

Social media policies are set because these type of companies are certain employees with access will screw up. Access and transparency only provide the rope for employees to hang themselves – and think of that liability?

The company knows better how to protect you from yourself. Theory X management, how very paternalistic.

Strength-based cultures develop policies through trust and the follow a strong management commitment to communicate, educate, and train you on what is expected. The effort is not spent on employees that management can not trust.

If web 1.0 brought about the concept content is king, the maturity to a web 2.0 and social media environment achieved through the concept community is king.

No Community, No Motivation

Without community you can’t have motivation. How can you develop a community unless you are a transparent part of a community?

How do you seek to understand community without spending time invested in a community?

Well, as the above holds true to the individual the same holds true for the organization.

Community versus gulag. Marketing 2.0, web 2.0, and social media present a revolution many companies continue to barricade their citadel gates against. Is your company leadership and marketing cowering behind the gates hoping to outlast the pagan horde?

Does social media embody the best your organization culture has to offer? I will look at this in a second, follow-up, post:  Company social media strategy reflects organization culture — sales

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