Trading ownership for collaboration

In spite of banter about who "owns" social media, client teams are embracing this new channel for thoughtful and open collaboration.

In spite of banter about who “owns” social media, client teams are embracing this new channel for thoughtful and open collaboration. Here's how three clients described efforts in trading in ownership for cooperation.

Defying separation: There is no separation for social media. Janice Maiman, VP of communications for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, describes it this way: “Social media melt[s] the walls between communications disciplines. Is a blog functioning as public relations, marketing, member communications? The answer is generally 'yes.'"

According to David Thomas, social media manager with SAS, “Social media touches every aspect of an organization. Customers don't care about our internal divisions; they want the information they want, when they want it, in the place they're looking.”

Breaking down silos: Client teams are enrolling diverse stakeholders to tap into social media. This doesn't come without challenges. “Internal teams need to put aside functional ownership and silo mentality to collaborate on achieving the best answer for an organization. The trick is finding the right balance between reputation management or brand messaging and utilizing the open channels created by social media,” says Maiman.

Getting started: Collaboration is key, but who takes responsibility for setting strategy and guidelines? According to Gayle Tuttle, director of strategic communications with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, “Someone has to be charged with leading the development of strategy, shepherding social media adoption, and setting guidance. Otherwise tools and technology can get ahead of the business strategy.”

Sustaining enterprise implementation: When a sound strategy is in place, clients report success in sustaining momentum in social media.

The work is ongoing according to Tuttle, “We put together a cross-enterprise work group to gain buy-in on the strategy and to understand the needs across the enterprise. Now that work group operates as ambassadors for implementation.”

Karen Albritton is president of Capstrat.

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