How to (potentially) get your social media house in order

Like most technologies, social media started off as something organizations tried to resist, then later adopted feverishly to capitalize on business opportunities. That's when the trouble begins.
We at IT World Canada are no different. Although we're been using the various platforms and tools for several years now, we've begun to realize there are pockets of activity happening with no communication between departments and individuals. Given that we share a common set of values and mission, it makes sense to join forces and at least learn from each other, and perhaps develop more consistent approaches where it makes sense.
I'm co-chairing this committee, but it involves almost every part of the organization, including IT. Given that we've always been transparent with our community of technology professionals — and given that social media demands an element of crowdsourcing and feedback — I thought I'd share a slightly edited version of the document we created to organize ourselves. Feel free to steal or adapt this as you will, and any suggestions for improvements are, as always, most welcome. I may provide some updates on our progess, but to some extent I successful social media tactics should be like God — seen nowhere, felt everywhere.

The Objective

The Social Media Committee will pull together the key stakeholders who are involved in using these tools for various business purposes throughout the company. By sharing information and exploring best practices based on research of other successful approaches, we will accomplish the following:

·         Provide visibility into all social media accounts and activities

·         Develop policies around usage that tie into corporate goals and Key Result Areas

·         Establish a standard of quality that can be maintained across all platforms

·         Create consistencies around processes where appropriate

The Social Media Committee will focus on those tools and platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) that have already demonstrated considerable business benefits.

The Approach

Given the different use case scenarios for social media depending on the department, we will work on more specific objectives and outcomes at the sub-committee level. These sub-committees will include:

·         Circulation: How can the use of social media drive increased conversions to our database, assist with audience acquisition for events and further research initiatives?

·         Client Campaigns: How can social media assist with lead gen, drive traffic to partner zones or integrate with client campaigns?

·         Events: In addition to audience acquisition activities for Circ, how can social media be incorporated into ITWC events, therefore improving the attendee experience?

·         Sales Development and Client Account Management: How can the Sales-focused members of the ITWC team leverage social media tools/channels to acquire new business as well as optimize relationships with existing clients?

·         Editorial: How can social media create conversations with new readers and deepen relationships with existing ones, raise editor/writer profiles, promote blogs and user-generated content?

·         Corporate: What can we do with social media to promote IT World Canada as a media house/marketing services firm/database leader? Can we utilize social media as a PR tool to promote ITWC corporately, ie. as an innovative organization, attractive employer, etc?

The Outcome

Our initial meeting will finish up earlier work that was done on itemizing all account information and documenting present activities and policies.

We will then work at the sub-committee level to establish targets (around traffic, subscriptions, lead gen, etc.) for Fiscal 2011 and determine the resources required to reach these targets.

The key outcome will be around measurement and analysis of our social media activity. Once targets have been set and resources allocated, we will determine the most useful way to document and create reports around social media activity that can track our progress on a monthly basis.

This will allow the committee to make practical recommendations to the company at large about the actions most likely to achieve positive results through social media and related technologies.

The committee should also endeavour to frequently and effectively communicate its activities throughout the ITWC organization, to ensure employee awareness as well as buy-in for our efforts. In addition, we anticipate development of a formalized process for soliciting, evaluating and implementing suggestions from non-committee members on current/future social media initiatives for ITWC.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Shane Schick
Shane Schick
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