[NCB Best Of] How to Implement Social Media inside Your Company

This week marks my 2 year blogiversary. To commemorate one of the things I thought I’d do is re-post some of my better older posts. This blog was originally posted on 6/4/07

These tips are for all of my friends working inside of large companies, wanting to take advantage of new media but are not sure where to start. Here are some steps I recommend. This advice is meant for deployment *inside* your company. I find it a much easier sell to your higher ups on deploying new media internally than it is to launch external efforts. Once you’ve demonstrated the power of new media it becomes much easier to extend those efforts beyond the firewall.

1) Start Small

- I can’t over state this one enough. People get easily excited about the possibilities of what they can do with new media (instead of what they should do) and start making grandiose plans of turning their corporate website into the next MySpace. Start with one internal forum or wiki in one department, or find a few other managers that may want to collaborate on a blog. Check around, people might already be doing this (start with IT they are notorious for hogging the coolest toys for themselves). This could be as simple as going to wordpess.com and setting up a password protected blog.

2) Start with internal champions

- In order to create buy-in, you need support and you need help continuing the content during the lulls (which there will be). You want the influential connectors in your company to contribute. These are the “go to guys/gals” that know how to get things done. The problem is that they are usually the busiest. The good news is that they are also the ones who like getting recognition for helping out on cool new initiatives.

3) Grow it organically (using fertilizer)

- Don’t pass down a mandate. Don’t implement a new policy. You only want those people participating who want to participate (but you want them to want to participate). ***Warning the following suggestion may seem underhanded*** If you have an internal blog and someone not participating shares a great story or experience with you, invite them to write it up and share it on the blog. If that doesn’t work, interview them and post the interview on the blog. Then go back to those internal champions and have them comment on it, sparking
additional conversation. You won’t have to do this too often before people are participating on their own.

4) Education

- New media tools can seem intimidating at first. There is a steep but incredibly small learning curve. Constantly provide ongoing training on how to use the tools. Have a monthly luncheon where people are invited to get together and talk about what’s working and what could be improved, how the tools work, tips, tricks, etc. It can also be good to circulate tutorials, both written and video. If you have access to web conferencing technology the video is probably the easiest to do.

5) Provide encouragement

- Reward those that are participating. Quote someones blog in a meeting, give all of those that are participating a Moleskine to keep their ideas in. Sometimes this means sending out encouraging emails during the lulls. This is important because after the initial excitement of launch there will come a point where the initiative will face stagnation. Its important to continue to nag encourage people to keep participating.

6) Ask for forgiveness not permission

- Supposing that you have an old crusty conservative boss who may not quite understand the technology, this may be the only way to go. If you can demonstrate how effective new media can be with little or no cost then there becomes nothing to apologize for. If you follow the first 5 steps you can most likely generate enough momentum that your company will have no choice but to get on board.

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