Step 1: Acknowledging the Addiction
I suggested a homework assignment to identify specifically what (or who) in your company exemplifies the addictive behavior that is standing in the way of developing a more social brand.
It's important to admit that something is getting in the way. It's not a pleasant task. But like an alcoholic who must first admit that s/he has a drinking problem in order to overcome it, you must identify what must change in your company culture before deciding how to change it.
Here are some common obstacles I've seen. Maybe you recognize one of these?
- A legal department that thinks the company will be held liable for anything published on your site, and thus believes they are protecting the company. Typically, every bit of content on the site must be approved by several channels prior to posting, and every innovative idea that arises is often met with the phrase "we have to run that thru legal first."
- A general fear of what the customer might say. What if people say bad things about your product on your web site?
- Marketing wants to control the brand image and portray the product how they want it perceived.
- A person in power/decision maker who just doesn't like or use the internet.
- Business objectives that try to dictate or push the customer to desired behavior rather than offering options for the customer to do what THEY want to do.
Step 2: Believe in a Higher Power
Okay, so now that you've named and identified the addiction. Let's say that your company is addicted to fear. Or addicted to control. (same thing, in my book) If you've got a different addiction, mention that in the comments section below, and we'll work with that instead.
So now we know the addiction. Does acknowledging it make it go away? Is the world suddenly full of fluffy kittens, golden rays of sunshine and your company is magically ready to embrace social media?
Of course not. It's not that easy. But identifying the addiction is a step towards identifying what trumps the addiction.
If we are to overcome fear or a loss of control, we must replace that with a higher power, something that trumps fear in the cosmic game of rock, paper, scissors.
Rock Beats Scissors, Scissors Beat Paper,Paper Beats Rock...What Beats Fear?
So rock beats scissors, paper beats rock and scissors beats paper...fear beats control...but what beats fear?
Now, knowledge alone won't make an addict see the light and proclaim "I'm an addict and must change my ways." I'm about to post some links to some great case studies that show the benefits of social media marketing.
Follow these links and you'll find sterling examples to demonstrate to the fearful that social media marketing DOES work, has profound benefits and that online communities are more powerful than traditional customer channels.
But those case studies won't be enough to actually change the mind of your CEO, legal department or EVP of Marketing to embrace social media.
The knowledge that others have used these tools with success will start to calm some of the fears, but won't be enough to actually change an opinion. I know we'd like to think we are ultimately rational beings, the reality is that emotion (pleasure) trumps knowledge any day of the week.
So remember this: Fear trumps control. Knowledge trumps fear. Emotion (pleasure) trumps knowledge.
If you want to convince an addict to admit their addiction and change their behavior, first appeal to their fears, then their intellect and then the emotion of pleasure. In that order.
Hey, This Higher Power Stuff WORKS.
This is your homework assignment--pick out 3 case studies of the 100's listed here that are applicable to your business sector and objectives. Don't worry if you don't know your exact objectives yet--just pick out 3 case studies that seem to fit.
This compilation of case studies is courtesy of The Interactive Insights Group, and is an exhaustive list of successful social media campaigns and sites across all commercial and non-profit industries.
(Make sure you visit their site and leave a "thanks" for compiling the list. It's a fantastic resource and no easy task to put together. Saying thank you is part of your karma. Make sure you do it.)
Once you've picked out your 3 case studies, you will write a total of 3 paragraphs for each case study:
- a paragrah summarizing the objective and result of the campaign
- a paragraph describing how this campaign is relevant to your company
- a paragraph on what you would hope to acheive by running a similar campaign for your company
How am I doing so far? Are you finding this 12 Step Plan useful?