How Companies are Scaling Up
It’s important to know where your business stands before you head down the path towards broad social adoption across your employee base. But regardless of your industry, your company will eventually fall behind if it doesn’t formulate a plan for connecting customers with employees throughout the organization. Enterprises that keep social media on the periphery or silo social media activities within particular lines of business will miss out the compounding advantages that come with scale.
Most companies, however, have a long way to go in activating their employees as social advocates. The vast majority (81%) of executives surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit agree that social engagement has tangible benefits, but only 17% have responsibility well distributed throughout the organization. The good news for any executive who is just beginning to expand his or her company’s social footprint is that two strategic models of social media adoption have emerged from the trials and tribulations of early adopters.
Two Models for Broad Social Adoption
- Empowerment: participation and reach
- Containment: security and control
Early corporate ventures in social media typically began as organic experiments by separate teams in marketing, public relations or customer service.
Today’s leading social businesses have moved beyond this experimentation phase toward holistic social media strategies that bring the activities of disparate social teams together, sometimes under the aegis of an enterprise-level Command Center. These integrations ensure that social media programs have direction and purpose, but they don’t abrogate the need for broad social participation across the workforce. In fact, one of the key benefits of an enterprise-wide social strategy is that in enables greater advocacy by employees outside of dedicated social media teams.
The Empowerment and Containment models are two different approaches toward the same goal of bringing more employees into social media on behalf of the company. Each model makes a set of trade-offs between freedom and safety, initiative and supervision. Since they are enterprise-wide frameworks, both of them require the support of C-level leadership, and both of them have a place for centralized social media resources. In addition, both models depend on having educated employees who understand social media.
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