The Social Media Stalemate

I had an interesting discussion on Twitter the other night, prompted by this thought:

Why do companies trust their employees to answer a phone, but not to blog or get on Twitter?

It drew a flurry of responses – everything from online activities being permanently etched in Google and thereby carrying more risk, to companies just not “getting” that their employees are likely out there talking anyway, with or without permission. It’s the second part that stuck. (The actual answers to the above question are actually rather secondary at this point).

Once again, we’re at this place of what I’m affectionately calling the Social Media Stalemate.

There are piles of information out there now about the “why” of social media, and there are increasingly bold and prominent examples of the how, from our favorites like Dell and Comcast and Zappos to all of the companies that Peter Kim has been copiously collecting here.  I’m just about done with the argument that what we need is more “examples”. We have examples, what we seem to collectively lack is the stones to execute and try stuff for ourselves (there, I said it).

So this brings me here. What happens when we’re a bit of an impasse? When we’ve outlined examples, talked until we’re blue in the face about the benefits of participating in social media and pointed out the risks of ignoring it, and yet our company or client refuses to hear?

You probably know by now that I’m a proponent of doing things in baby steps, and that complete revolution is often impossible and sometimes even unwise in the face of business. So no, to those of you that may be preparing to launch into a comment storm about social media’s overhype, I’m not suggesting that we jettison everything old in favor of everything new. But doing nothing at all, digging in your heels and refusing to see what’s in front of you? That’s a tough nut to crack.

I’m all for education and teaching and learning and gradual sea change. But even I have to admit that I shake my head at some of the stale rationale I keep hearing to justify resisting the things that are so obviously changing the face of business and media as we know them, even in small ways. And I grow even more confused when what I hear as justification are things like “it’s risky” or “we don’t know if it will work” or “companies are afraid of the unknown”. I have yet to execute any substantially successful communications, marketing, community outreach, fundraising, or customer service initiative in my career that came with a guarantee of success, whether or not it had precedent.

This isn’t fishbowl validation anymore, folks. I’m not trying to preach to the converted or play kumbaya, nor am I trying to assert that social media is the end-all (and I’ve written many times about why it isn’t). Social media didn’t create the mistrust or the detractors or the risks or the issues at hand, it’s just putting them in plain sight, and putting companies in the uncomfortable (or enlightening) position to respond.

So I’m asking you. Can persistence in teaching and education pay off, and is eternal patience the only prescription (besides more cowbell)?

How much analysis and risk evaluation is enough before action is imperative?

And when all else fails, when (and HOW) do you cut bait, either as a company or an adviser? Is there a time when you as the social media champion are forced to choose your company or your cause?

I don’t have all the answers here, far from it. But I’m wondering if any of you are thinking about this like I am. Help me out?

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  • http://www.dailyaxioms.com Tim Otis

    I’m not sure if you’re getting the same response, but here at Axiom the only clients that have taken the “baby steps” are non-profits because they have nothing to lose. I’m just a bit perturbed that we will clearly show our budgeted clients that people are talking about them on Twitter NEGATIVELY and they still don’t engage (jump on fully); rather, they stay behind closed doors and will choose to respond. A lot of clients will look at the number of influencers attached to the complaint and think it’s equivalent to only an eskimo in an igloo. Well, we’ll do our best!

    Tim Otiss last blog post..The Axiom Phone Booth Has Arrived

  • http://www.dailyaxioms.com Tim Otis

    I’m not sure if you’re getting the same response, but here at Axiom the only clients that have taken the “baby steps” are non-profits because they have nothing to lose. I’m just a bit perturbed that we will clearly show our budgeted clients that people are talking about them on Twitter NEGATIVELY and they still don’t engage (jump on fully); rather, they stay behind closed doors and will choose to respond. A lot of clients will look at the number of influencers attached to the complaint and think it’s equivalent to only an eskimo in an igloo. Well, we’ll do our best!

    Tim Otiss last blog post..The Axiom Phone Booth Has Arrived

  • http://plaintalk.typepad.com Jason Anthoine

    Excellent point, one I’ve been yelling at the top of the my lungs for months now, particularly as it relates to internal communications at companies. The slow rate of uptake by most companies on external social media is only rivaled by the same slow rate of uptake when it comes to using SM when communicating internally.

    How many more examples of excellent SM usage and ROI are needed before we get past the stalemate you describe and find the tipping point? As I heard someone on Twitter say today, let’s get past trying to build consensus and simply be OK with consent. Waiting until the whole leadership team is comfortable and on board leaves the company exposed and shut out of conversations going on about their brand.

    Hopefully SM will move from being a nice-to-have to a must-do in the near future. This business of sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will all pass as a fad only erodes the brand’s reputation, externally and internally, something even a boatload of social media will have a hard time undoing after the fact.

    Jason Anthoines last blog post..Time Out! Regular Employee Meetings Keep Everyone on The Same Playing Field

  • http://plaintalk.typepad.com Jason Anthoine

    Excellent point, one I’ve been yelling at the top of the my lungs for months now, particularly as it relates to internal communications at companies. The slow rate of uptake by most companies on external social media is only rivaled by the same slow rate of uptake when it comes to using SM when communicating internally.

    How many more examples of excellent SM usage and ROI are needed before we get past the stalemate you describe and find the tipping point? As I heard someone on Twitter say today, let’s get past trying to build consensus and simply be OK with consent. Waiting until the whole leadership team is comfortable and on board leaves the company exposed and shut out of conversations going on about their brand.

    Hopefully SM will move from being a nice-to-have to a must-do in the near future. This business of sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will all pass as a fad only erodes the brand’s reputation, externally and internally, something even a boatload of social media will have a hard time undoing after the fact.

    Jason Anthoines last blog post..Time Out! Regular Employee Meetings Keep Everyone on The Same Playing Field

  • http://www.twitter.com/Narciso17 Narciso Tovar

    Unlike Will Ferrell and Chrisopher Walken, ‘more cowbell’ may not be the best prescription here. I think that it’s a fair statement to make that this bright new toy called ‘social media’ is not a one-size-fits-all curio. For that matter, there can really be no one way to know when one should start pulling back on ‘cow bell’ – especially since not everyone’s degree of comfort in social media is the same.

    We should just be *watching* our client/company’s delight in ‘cow bell’ to best gauge next steps:
    * More Cowbell
    * Less Cowbell
    * Bigger Cowbell
    * Etc.

    Which comes down to the point that we can throw out as many stats, figures out there to impress a company/client; but, until they believe it’s a good thing to do, they will NOT be clanging away with Will Ferrell.

    So, yes, I believe patience and persitence will pay off…but if you’re not really looking for those signs that your company/client if diggin’ on the cow bell, you’ll lose some ground…and trust.

    Can you imagine if they *HATE* cow bell (say it isn’t so!)…?

    This is why I agree with Amber in her approach – the more ‘baby step’ you proceed, the less the pain when the client/company starts to get restless or start to look at you like you’re TRYING TO SELL EM’ SOMETHING.

    Narciso Tovars last blog post..Narciso17: RT @wfaachannel8 Texas Instruments says it will cut 3,400 jobs because of deteriorating economic conditions http://tinyurl.com/bt7esv

  • http://www.twitter.com/Narciso17 Narciso Tovar

    Unlike Will Ferrell and Chrisopher Walken, ‘more cowbell’ may not be the best prescription here. I think that it’s a fair statement to make that this bright new toy called ‘social media’ is not a one-size-fits-all curio. For that matter, there can really be no one way to know when one should start pulling back on ‘cow bell’ – especially since not everyone’s degree of comfort in social media is the same.

    We should just be *watching* our client/company’s delight in ‘cow bell’ to best gauge next steps:
    * More Cowbell
    * Less Cowbell
    * Bigger Cowbell
    * Etc.

    Which comes down to the point that we can throw out as many stats, figures out there to impress a company/client; but, until they believe it’s a good thing to do, they will NOT be clanging away with Will Ferrell.

    So, yes, I believe patience and persitence will pay off…but if you’re not really looking for those signs that your company/client if diggin’ on the cow bell, you’ll lose some ground…and trust.

    Can you imagine if they *HATE* cow bell (say it isn’t so!)…?

    This is why I agree with Amber in her approach – the more ‘baby step’ you proceed, the less the pain when the client/company starts to get restless or start to look at you like you’re TRYING TO SELL EM’ SOMETHING.

    Narciso Tovars last blog post..Narciso17: RT @wfaachannel8 Texas Instruments says it will cut 3,400 jobs because of deteriorating economic conditions http://tinyurl.com/bt7esv

  • http://detroitvoice.wordpress.com David Benjamin

    Amber,

    This topic is so near and dear to me that I had to respond. Like you, I constantly hear why social media can’t or isn’t working from those that have never gotten involved. I have no problem with individuals and companies alike being cautious, however not examining some of the potential benefits seems shortsighted.

    There is no real template or road map to follow. Sure there are some companies that have had success branding themselves successfully using social media platforms but for now they are the expception, not the norm. Those willing to take a chance after carefully outlining their game plan are the ones most likely to succeed if implemented properly.

    So what should companies do?

    I believe if your not happy with your current results, doing things as you always have, you might want to consider looking at alternative measures. As you stated in your blog, social media is not for everyone and is not a cure all.

    In my opinion it’s time for companies to stop being so concerned about what might be said about them on these various sites. Instead, look at all the possibilites of connecting with potential ditractors, demonstrate that you care and want to help.

    David Benjamins last blog post..Voices of Detroit In-depth conversations with entrepreneurs and community leaders who are leading the renaissance of Detroit

  • http://detroitvoice.wordpress.com David Benjamin

    Amber,

    This topic is so near and dear to me that I had to respond. Like you, I constantly hear why social media can’t or isn’t working from those that have never gotten involved. I have no problem with individuals and companies alike being cautious, however not examining some of the potential benefits seems shortsighted.

    There is no real template or road map to follow. Sure there are some companies that have had success branding themselves successfully using social media platforms but for now they are the expception, not the norm. Those willing to take a chance after carefully outlining their game plan are the ones most likely to succeed if implemented properly.

    So what should companies do?

    I believe if your not happy with your current results, doing things as you always have, you might want to consider looking at alternative measures. As you stated in your blog, social media is not for everyone and is not a cure all.

    In my opinion it’s time for companies to stop being so concerned about what might be said about them on these various sites. Instead, look at all the possibilites of connecting with potential ditractors, demonstrate that you care and want to help.

    David Benjamins last blog post..Voices of Detroit In-depth conversations with entrepreneurs and community leaders who are leading the renaissance of Detroit

  • http://randomactsofleadership.wordpress.com Susan Mazza

    Seems to me more like an expression of passionate commitment to a possibility than a rant…

    I’m one of the people who pointed to the risks, but I don’t believe that should stop anyone from doing anything that has such amazing potential. I just think you have to proceed wisely and with your eyes wide open.

    Examples rarely open minds that already closed to an idea – you just get a flurry of “yeah buts”. Causing cultural change in companies is my area of expertise, but I find it hard to talk theoretically and in generalities when you want to discover anything new.

    An idea – set up a call to brainstorm on one or more live situations with people of diverse perspectives. We all have our blind spots so perhaps a little collaborative thinking could be beneficial. If you do I would love to participate

    I see the use of social media tools as key to causing much needed breakthroughs in communication and knowledge sharing, especially in large enterprises. Although I don’t work with companies on their interaction with the world, I am already experiencing resistance on the internal front.

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..A Moment of Courage – Part I

  • http://randomactsofleadership.wordpress.com Susan Mazza

    Seems to me more like an expression of passionate commitment to a possibility than a rant…

    I’m one of the people who pointed to the risks, but I don’t believe that should stop anyone from doing anything that has such amazing potential. I just think you have to proceed wisely and with your eyes wide open.

    Examples rarely open minds that already closed to an idea – you just get a flurry of “yeah buts”. Causing cultural change in companies is my area of expertise, but I find it hard to talk theoretically and in generalities when you want to discover anything new.

    An idea – set up a call to brainstorm on one or more live situations with people of diverse perspectives. We all have our blind spots so perhaps a little collaborative thinking could be beneficial. If you do I would love to participate

    I see the use of social media tools as key to causing much needed breakthroughs in communication and knowledge sharing, especially in large enterprises. Although I don’t work with companies on their interaction with the world, I am already experiencing resistance on the internal front.

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..A Moment of Courage – Part I

  • http://shuaism.com Josh Peters

    I worked with a company (name witheld to protect the guilty) who only wanted to “dabble” in social media. They didn’t want Customer Service, Tech Support, Sales, or HR to use social media at all.

    The only thing they wanted to do with social media is setup some listening strategies (which we did), and figure out how to handle the most outrageous of brand detractors (via a reaction strategy). They weren’t interested in anyting else. Which is too bad because their competitors are doing great using Social media.

    For them the impass is still the control. They feel it’s harder to control what the techs and agents say when they aren’t recording it (even though “the internt” is). Until people can see the direct correlation between online and phone activites in business and evolve in their thinking a bit I think this stalemate is going to continue for a bit longer.

    Josh Peterss last blog post..20+ Social Media and Online Resources for Realtors

  • http://shuaism.com Josh Peters

    I worked with a company (name witheld to protect the guilty) who only wanted to “dabble” in social media. They didn’t want Customer Service, Tech Support, Sales, or HR to use social media at all.

    The only thing they wanted to do with social media is setup some listening strategies (which we did), and figure out how to handle the most outrageous of brand detractors (via a reaction strategy). They weren’t interested in anyting else. Which is too bad because their competitors are doing great using Social media.

    For them the impass is still the control. They feel it’s harder to control what the techs and agents say when they aren’t recording it (even though “the internt” is). Until people can see the direct correlation between online and phone activites in business and evolve in their thinking a bit I think this stalemate is going to continue for a bit longer.

    Josh Peterss last blog post..20+ Social Media and Online Resources for Realtors

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    While it’s probably the easiest excuse, it’s one that still stands, I think – until businesses can see “true” ROI and not the negative witch-hunts that ill-advised tweets and comments can result in, we’ll continue to wait.

    I’m a business owner. From a purely business point of view, I don’t see any real cases of social media having the same financial results that a targeted ad, marketing or PR campaign in the *real* world can muster.

    What I do see is a social media consultant making a tweet about a city and being hauled over all sorts of coals for it. I see an advertisement that upset some moms result in it being pulled. I see *gurus* springing up all over the place selling nothing but snake oil.

    But I don’t see physical financial returns.

    So, as a business owner, I’m asking: “Why? Why bother?”

    Until we can overcome the biting internally that does happen, we can never hope to expand externally, no matter how committed or focused good people like you and those in the comments are.

    Just a thought…

    Danny Browns last blog post..It’s Not All About The Blog

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    While it’s probably the easiest excuse, it’s one that still stands, I think – until businesses can see “true” ROI and not the negative witch-hunts that ill-advised tweets and comments can result in, we’ll continue to wait.

    I’m a business owner. From a purely business point of view, I don’t see any real cases of social media having the same financial results that a targeted ad, marketing or PR campaign in the *real* world can muster.

    What I do see is a social media consultant making a tweet about a city and being hauled over all sorts of coals for it. I see an advertisement that upset some moms result in it being pulled. I see *gurus* springing up all over the place selling nothing but snake oil.

    But I don’t see physical financial returns.

    So, as a business owner, I’m asking: “Why? Why bother?”

    Until we can overcome the biting internally that does happen, we can never hope to expand externally, no matter how committed or focused good people like you and those in the comments are.

    Just a thought…

    Danny Browns last blog post..It’s Not All About The Blog

  • Amber Naslund

    @Danny you raise an interesting point about not seeing the “financial returns” of social media. Are you talking direct revenue as a result of those efforts, like X Twitter presence resulted in Y amount of money? I actually think Dell is starting to quantify some of those numbers.

    But I wonder if we’re expecting social media efforts to perform on the same basis as marketing “campaigns”? Those, to me, are two very different efforts. I personally tend to equate social media much more on the level of business development (or donor cultivation, in the non profit world), and equating returns in values, not revenues.

    Perhaps that’s part of the issue? Our definitions of what we want out of social media efforts are disparate?

  • Mike Thebado

    Amber,

    One of the marketing classics which greatly affects my thinking to this day is “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore. In it, Moore describes the substantial challenges involved in moving a market from being dominated by visionaries and early adopters, to one in which the market spreads to the far more numerous early adopters. I believe that many, most, or even all, new technologies fall into Moore’s “chasm” for a time, and that that might well be where social media are at the moment.

    The good news is that good ideas that deliver value do (usually, if not inevitably)”cross the chasm” eventually. I’ll leave it to Moore and others to suggest strategies for shortening, or enduring, the chasm itself. For me, I am content to continue my experimentation with promising technologies, and learning valuable lessons which will aid in wider deployment, when it comes. I believe that the patient and gradual accumulation of successes, and proof cases, contributes to the sometimes slow journey across the chasm, even when the pace of such accumulation does little to relieve the agita of many visionaries (and impatient venture capitalists).

    Do what is in front of you to do, and have faith in your instincts. As the saying goes, “This too shall pass”.

    Congratulations on the new role with Radian!

    Mike

  • Mike Thebado

    Amber,

    One of the marketing classics which greatly affects my thinking to this day is “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore. In it, Moore describes the substantial challenges involved in moving a market from being dominated by visionaries and early adopters, to one in which the market spreads to the far more numerous early adopters. I believe that many, most, or even all, new technologies fall into Moore’s “chasm” for a time, and that that might well be where social media are at the moment.

    The good news is that good ideas that deliver value do (usually, if not inevitably)”cross the chasm” eventually. I’ll leave it to Moore and others to suggest strategies for shortening, or enduring, the chasm itself. For me, I am content to continue my experimentation with promising technologies, and learning valuable lessons which will aid in wider deployment, when it comes. I believe that the patient and gradual accumulation of successes, and proof cases, contributes to the sometimes slow journey across the chasm, even when the pace of such accumulation does little to relieve the agita of many visionaries (and impatient venture capitalists).

    Do what is in front of you to do, and have faith in your instincts. As the saying goes, “This too shall pass”.

    Congratulations on the new role with Radian!

    Mike

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  • http://www.dix-eaton.com/blogs/measurementpr-spectives/ Chuck

    I sort of agree with Danny’s comment regarding a true ROI for social media. Heck, some still argue that traditional communications alone doesn’t have a direct impact on the bottomline. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good metrics to measure performance/value however. There are plenty of good ones–many of which are employed by Radian6.

    The other thought I had, and this originated from talking to a couple of senior executives at our firm, is the reason for the “stalemate” may be generational. The folks we are talking to about the potential value in utilizing social media are almost always of a different generation. One of very tight, close to the vest communications. They see social media as exactly the opposite, that even though there is a risk associated with being blind to the commentary there is an even bigger risk by engaging in the conversation.

    Not saying I agree with the latter point…just something I hear.

    Chucks last blog post..Chief Marketing Officers Embrace ROI!

  • http://www.dix-eaton.com/blogs/measurementpr-spectives/ Chuck

    I sort of agree with Danny’s comment regarding a true ROI for social media. Heck, some still argue that traditional communications alone doesn’t have a direct impact on the bottomline. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good metrics to measure performance/value however. There are plenty of good ones–many of which are employed by Radian6.

    The other thought I had, and this originated from talking to a couple of senior executives at our firm, is the reason for the “stalemate” may be generational. The folks we are talking to about the potential value in utilizing social media are almost always of a different generation. One of very tight, close to the vest communications. They see social media as exactly the opposite, that even though there is a risk associated with being blind to the commentary there is an even bigger risk by engaging in the conversation.

    Not saying I agree with the latter point…just something I hear.

    Chucks last blog post..Chief Marketing Officers Embrace ROI!

  • http://www.dailyaxioms.com Drew Gneiser

    Great post. A lot of big companies have the idea that eliminating risk is a good idea, but fail to realize that 1) it can’t be done and 2) it can actually be more risky. I am reading Purple Cow (Seth Godin) right now and your post reminds me of many of the ideas he presents. While some companies try to eliminate risk by not stepping into social media, others that realize how things are changing will move ahead of them.

    Survival of the fittest.

    Drew Gneisers last blog post..The Axiom Phone Booth Has Arrived

  • http://www.dailyaxioms.com Drew Gneiser

    Great post. A lot of big companies have the idea that eliminating risk is a good idea, but fail to realize that 1) it can’t be done and 2) it can actually be more risky. I am reading Purple Cow (Seth Godin) right now and your post reminds me of many of the ideas he presents. While some companies try to eliminate risk by not stepping into social media, others that realize how things are changing will move ahead of them.

    Survival of the fittest.

    Drew Gneisers last blog post..The Axiom Phone Booth Has Arrived

  • Anonymous

    Why do companies trust their employees to answer a phone, but not to blog or get on Twitter?

    Probably because there is only one person on the other end of a phone call and it is usually not being recorded. But the whole world is on the other end of twitter/blogs and it is harder to cover up a mistake.

    The printed word traditionally goes through many approvals to ensure that there are no embarrassing mistakes. If individuals are twittering and blogging without having it go through various approvals first, the risk of mistakes getting out there is higher.

    The benefits are there, for sure. The repercussions of not getting involved in social media are great too. But that doesn’t make the risks involved in social media go away. Not all corporations can get past that. But more will have to. We need to find ways to help them manage that risk.

    Annie @ PhD in Parentings last blog post..When a mother breastfeeds she is protecting her child from herself

  • http://phdinparenting.com Annie @ PhD in Parenting

    Why do companies trust their employees to answer a phone, but not to blog or get on Twitter?

    Probably because there is only one person on the other end of a phone call and it is usually not being recorded. But the whole world is on the other end of twitter/blogs and it is harder to cover up a mistake.

    The printed word traditionally goes through many approvals to ensure that there are no embarrassing mistakes. If individuals are twittering and blogging without having it go through various approvals first, the risk of mistakes getting out there is higher.

    The benefits are there, for sure. The repercussions of not getting involved in social media are great too. But that doesn’t make the risks involved in social media go away. Not all corporations can get past that. But more will have to. We need to find ways to help them manage that risk.

    Annie @ PhD in Parentings last blog post..When a mother breastfeeds she is protecting her child from herself

  • Pingback: A Social Media Guru Takes Off The Gloves « RL Blog

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    @ Amber.

    Hmm, my previous response didn’t post – hey ho.

    I hear you, and yes, we know they are different models and need to be looked at that way.

    Yet to most business owners who have stakeholders and sponsors to answer to, sadly value is a dirty word compared to revenue.

    That’s what we have to overcome.

    Danny Browns last blog post..Egos and Being Remarkable

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    @ Amber.

    Hmm, my previous response didn’t post – hey ho.

    I hear you, and yes, we know they are different models and need to be looked at that way.

    Yet to most business owners who have stakeholders and sponsors to answer to, sadly value is a dirty word compared to revenue.

    That’s what we have to overcome.

    Danny Browns last blog post..Egos and Being Remarkable

  • http://www.thecontrapuntist.com Miguel

    Hey Amber,

    Great post. Perhaps there is a deeper cultural reason why some companies are nervous about entering the social media landscape. Partially, the economy isn’t helping. These days, any little mistake could cost a job. Second, say or do something wrong, could lead to unknown legal ramifications. Granted, there are examples of social media being put to good use, but those that are tiptoeing into this world are extra nervous because of a potentially wrong step. Perhaps the greatest reason of all, substantiating investment. Businesses are taking a hard look internally at their pocket books. We can argue about the necessity that brand should participate. However, if there is no money to support entry into social media for the long haul, then what happens if they have to cut those activities to make sure the business survives?

    Just like you, I don’t have all the answers, but businesses are having to make tough choices to save fiscal resources or file bankruptcy protection, or just vanish completely.

    Miguels last blog post..Guitar Hero and Rock Band: A Musician’s Perspective

  • http://www.thecontrapuntist.com Miguel

    Hey Amber,

    Great post. Perhaps there is a deeper cultural reason why some companies are nervous about entering the social media landscape. Partially, the economy isn’t helping. These days, any little mistake could cost a job. Second, say or do something wrong, could lead to unknown legal ramifications. Granted, there are examples of social media being put to good use, but those that are tiptoeing into this world are extra nervous because of a potentially wrong step. Perhaps the greatest reason of all, substantiating investment. Businesses are taking a hard look internally at their pocket books. We can argue about the necessity that brand should participate. However, if there is no money to support entry into social media for the long haul, then what happens if they have to cut those activities to make sure the business survives?

    Just like you, I don’t have all the answers, but businesses are having to make tough choices to save fiscal resources or file bankruptcy protection, or just vanish completely.

    Miguels last blog post..Guitar Hero and Rock Band: A Musician’s Perspective

  • http://rachelreuben.com Rachel Reuben

    To continue our Twitter conversation in more than 140…

    I really like your response to @dannybrown. I feel the same way – I’m big on equating returns in values, not revenues.

    Quick background for those that don’t know me: I’m a marketing/PR/communication-type in higher ed at a four-year public university. A few weeks ago we launched Cafe New Paltz, a Ning community that is for the students we’ve accepted to our university for this coming fall. One of the goals of our community is to help the super smart students we’ve accepted who aren’t sure if our university is the right fit for them, and help them figure it out. Honestly, the answer isn’t always that we’re the right fit. That’s what authenticity is all about.

    I’ve been asked by “outsiders,” ironically not administrators within my own university, to show hard numbers for our ROI on this project. And here begins my struggle — I don’t want to put a dollar value on a prospective student who may turn into an actual student. Sure, it could be done if you’re a mathy type of person, which I’m not, but my friend Karlyn is and has given me some great guidance in this area).

    Relationships=invaluable. Not to overuse the super cliched MasterCard tagline (even though I’m going to) — relationships are priceless in my opinion.

    The long tail effect investing time in building relationships with these students we’ve accepted — whether or not they commit to coming here — is so much more than a dollar value can communicate. They talk to their friends, their family, their guidance counselors, etc. And those folks talk to their folks. Those students who commit to coming here, step foot on our campus later this summer feeling like they’re already part of a larger community, and likely have many fears relieved and questions answered.

    How does saying “our ROI per student for this new Ning community is $32.50″ (random number) help with anything? Sure, it’s harder to track the more abstract conversations that happen in the long tail, but that’s why there are loads of listening tools out there to help.

    Off my soap box on my particular issue and back to your original questions– Can persistence in teaching and education pay off, and is eternal patience the only prescription ? I say yes to both. Without persistence (and a heavy dose of internal patience) it’s highly unlikely the non-believers will just magically do a 180 on their own and see the value. They need constant examples, case studies, best practices. That’s how I see my role in this space – learn all I can about what others are doing, share the success stories (even the not-so-successful ones) and keep the education process going.

  • http://rachelreuben.com Rachel Reuben

    To continue our Twitter conversation in more than 140…

    I really like your response to @dannybrown. I feel the same way – I’m big on equating returns in values, not revenues.

    Quick background for those that don’t know me: I’m a marketing/PR/communication-type in higher ed at a four-year public university. A few weeks ago we launched Cafe New Paltz, a Ning community that is for the students we’ve accepted to our university for this coming fall. One of the goals of our community is to help the super smart students we’ve accepted who aren’t sure if our university is the right fit for them, and help them figure it out. Honestly, the answer isn’t always that we’re the right fit. That’s what authenticity is all about.

    I’ve been asked by “outsiders,” ironically not administrators within my own university, to show hard numbers for our ROI on this project. And here begins my struggle — I don’t want to put a dollar value on a prospective student who may turn into an actual student. Sure, it could be done if you’re a mathy type of person, which I’m not, but my friend Karlyn is and has given me some great guidance in this area).

    Relationships=invaluable. Not to overuse the super cliched MasterCard tagline (even though I’m going to) — relationships are priceless in my opinion.

    The long tail effect investing time in building relationships with these students we’ve accepted — whether or not they commit to coming here — is so much more than a dollar value can communicate. They talk to their friends, their family, their guidance counselors, etc. And those folks talk to their folks. Those students who commit to coming here, step foot on our campus later this summer feeling like they’re already part of a larger community, and likely have many fears relieved and questions answered.

    How does saying “our ROI per student for this new Ning community is $32.50″ (random number) help with anything? Sure, it’s harder to track the more abstract conversations that happen in the long tail, but that’s why there are loads of listening tools out there to help.

    Off my soap box on my particular issue and back to your original questions– Can persistence in teaching and education pay off, and is eternal patience the only prescription ? I say yes to both. Without persistence (and a heavy dose of internal patience) it’s highly unlikely the non-believers will just magically do a 180 on their own and see the value. They need constant examples, case studies, best practices. That’s how I see my role in this space – learn all I can about what others are doing, share the success stories (even the not-so-successful ones) and keep the education process going.

  • http://www.sensorpro.net Chris

    One of the questions you pose is “How much analysis and risk evaluation is enough before action is imperative?” Depends on your background, right? Accountants are not not seen generally as “risk takers” so they may think like that. Others might just plough right on in. As a research firm, we look on twitter as an opportunity for a brand to listen to it’s customers. Unlike Google, which connects consumers to websites, twitter connects consumers to other consumers -and brands too. Whether a brand thinks it’s a good idea or not is not really the question. The fire is long started. Consumers are talking about your brand right now and there is an opportunity for you to not just listen but engage with them just like Marriott, Innocent Drinks and more.

  • http://www.sensorpro.net Chris

    One of the questions you pose is “How much analysis and risk evaluation is enough before action is imperative?” Depends on your background, right? Accountants are not not seen generally as “risk takers” so they may think like that. Others might just plough right on in. As a research firm, we look on twitter as an opportunity for a brand to listen to it’s customers. Unlike Google, which connects consumers to websites, twitter connects consumers to other consumers -and brands too. Whether a brand thinks it’s a good idea or not is not really the question. The fire is long started. Consumers are talking about your brand right now and there is an opportunity for you to not just listen but engage with them just like Marriott, Innocent Drinks and more.

  • Matches Malone

    I’m going with the first one. No, the second. Wait. What was the question? :)

    Ok, serious posts like this one deserve a serious response. If the company doesn’t get it, and it’s not your company, simply adapt to their rules, while at the same time, writing your own. The company doesn’t own you, unless of course you’ve signed a contract that states otherwise.

    If it is your company, and you don’t get it, why not? We live in an age wherein anyone can be anything online, and your presence, whether in Social Media or elsewhere, is defined by your employees, as well as your customers. Why aren’t you listening to them?

    What I do know, is that when a policy of containment is enabled, most have the reaction of, “Don’t tell me what to do!!!” At which point, you’ll get either, unhappy employees, or those that will flaunt the rule, if not outright break it. Now, you can fire these guys, but they’re probably your most productive employees. Why not allow them the freedom to think for themselves?

    Matches Malones last blog post..The 168 Project… Version 2.0.1

  • Matches Malone

    I’m going with the first one. No, the second. Wait. What was the question? :)

    Ok, serious posts like this one deserve a serious response. If the company doesn’t get it, and it’s not your company, simply adapt to their rules, while at the same time, writing your own. The company doesn’t own you, unless of course you’ve signed a contract that states otherwise.

    If it is your company, and you don’t get it, why not? We live in an age wherein anyone can be anything online, and your presence, whether in Social Media or elsewhere, is defined by your employees, as well as your customers. Why aren’t you listening to them?

    What I do know, is that when a policy of containment is enabled, most have the reaction of, “Don’t tell me what to do!!!” At which point, you’ll get either, unhappy employees, or those that will flaunt the rule, if not outright break it. Now, you can fire these guys, but they’re probably your most productive employees. Why not allow them the freedom to think for themselves?

    Matches Malones last blog post..The 168 Project… Version 2.0.1

  • Pingback: links for 2009-01-27 « Shashi Bellamkonda - Social Media Swami

  • http://www.flashfree.wordpress.com LizS

    Interesting points. But like all marketing tools, SM is not a one size fits all and not every business fits into the paradigm currently offered by SM. It’s one thing to say that you want to engage and yet another to tackle the legal ramifications and barriers. I think that the transition of the Obama effort in the social media space will be a great lesson for all. Activities that were allowable in the pre-administration period are not necessarily allowable by the White House. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they transcend the boundaries.

    LizSs last blog post..Breast cancer risk and HRT – what matters most?

  • http://www.flashfree.wordpress.com LizS

    Interesting points. But like all marketing tools, SM is not a one size fits all and not every business fits into the paradigm currently offered by SM. It’s one thing to say that you want to engage and yet another to tackle the legal ramifications and barriers. I think that the transition of the Obama effort in the social media space will be a great lesson for all. Activities that were allowable in the pre-administration period are not necessarily allowable by the White House. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they transcend the boundaries.

    LizSs last blog post..Breast cancer risk and HRT – what matters most?

  • http://www.Asfaq.com Asfaq Tapia

    Personally, I think its very important for every company to realise that Social Media is here to stay. There is no shying away from it. You can ban it, send internal notifications refraining anyone from talking of the company online but the fact of the matter is that there is no way to control it due to the numerous touch points with the Internet today.

    I think what works best is policy that educates employees on the use of Social Media, best practices, etc. Talk about how knee-jerk reactions on blogs and Twitter can have a lasting impact on the company.

    At Pinstorm, (disclaimer: I work there) we have an open policy towards blogging and the use of Twitter. New Pinstormers are actively introduced to these mediums and encouraged to participate in the community interwebs. This not only ensures greater learning but also improves visibility for the company.

    Asfaq Tapias last blog post..How to approach a journalist

  • http://www.Asfaq.com Asfaq Tapia

    Personally, I think its very important for every company to realise that Social Media is here to stay. There is no shying away from it. You can ban it, send internal notifications refraining anyone from talking of the company online but the fact of the matter is that there is no way to control it due to the numerous touch points with the Internet today.

    I think what works best is policy that educates employees on the use of Social Media, best practices, etc. Talk about how knee-jerk reactions on blogs and Twitter can have a lasting impact on the company.

    At Pinstorm, (disclaimer: I work there) we have an open policy towards blogging and the use of Twitter. New Pinstormers are actively introduced to these mediums and encouraged to participate in the community interwebs. This not only ensures greater learning but also improves visibility for the company.

    Asfaq Tapias last blog post..How to approach a journalist

  • http://brandimpact.wordpress.com Steve Woodruff @swoodruff

    Needed: Less cowbell. More stones.

    Steve Woodruff @swoodruffs last blog post..Five in the Morning 012809

  • http://brandimpact.wordpress.com Steve Woodruff @swoodruff

    Needed: Less cowbell. More stones.

    Steve Woodruff @swoodruffs last blog post..Five in the Morning 012809

  • http://suzemuse.ca Susan Murphy

    It’s true, many companies are reluctant to just dive right in to social media, and can you blame them? The bulk of the stories that make it to the mainstream are negative – the Motrin fiasco is a case in point. If the bad was the only thing I was exposed to, then I’d feel pretty apprehensive too.

    Josh touched on a really good point here when he talked about listening strategies.

    As much as we’d like our clients to adopt blanket social media strategies this very minute, the reality is that some companies aren’t prepared to take the risk until they have more information.

    The first step in implementing any social media type strategy (or any PR or marketing or comms strategy, for that matter) is to listen.

    Instead of pleading with your clients to get going in social media, why not help your clients set up listening posts for what’s going on in the space first? Then, back off, and give them some time to listen for a while, so they can learn a bit more about what is going on out here.

    Eventually, I think, they will start to see what some of the payoffs can be of actually getting involved.

    Susan Murphys last blog post..What My Students Taught Me About Online Communities

  • http://suzemuse.ca Susan Murphy

    It’s true, many companies are reluctant to just dive right in to social media, and can you blame them? The bulk of the stories that make it to the mainstream are negative – the Motrin fiasco is a case in point. If the bad was the only thing I was exposed to, then I’d feel pretty apprehensive too.

    Josh touched on a really good point here when he talked about listening strategies.

    As much as we’d like our clients to adopt blanket social media strategies this very minute, the reality is that some companies aren’t prepared to take the risk until they have more information.

    The first step in implementing any social media type strategy (or any PR or marketing or comms strategy, for that matter) is to listen.

    Instead of pleading with your clients to get going in social media, why not help your clients set up listening posts for what’s going on in the space first? Then, back off, and give them some time to listen for a while, so they can learn a bit more about what is going on out here.

    Eventually, I think, they will start to see what some of the payoffs can be of actually getting involved.

    Susan Murphys last blog post..What My Students Taught Me About Online Communities

  • http://randomactsofleadership.wordpress.com Susan Mazza

    Could a possible pathway for adopting social media tools and strategies be to implement first on the inside where it is safe and has the potential to cause tremendous breakthroughs in communication? This could especially help those who did not grow up with these tools and don’t have the time or inclination yet to explore them unless they seeing a here and now benefit. Experience is the best teacher.

    Something else I have been thinking about…if you are not being listened to then perhaps you are not listening. What can’t we hear from those who don’t see the value yet? If we can’t fully get into “their” world we will never enroll them in ours.

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..A Moment of Courage – Part I

  • http://randomactsofleadership.wordpress.com Susan Mazza

    Could a possible pathway for adopting social media tools and strategies be to implement first on the inside where it is safe and has the potential to cause tremendous breakthroughs in communication? This could especially help those who did not grow up with these tools and don’t have the time or inclination yet to explore them unless they seeing a here and now benefit. Experience is the best teacher.

    Something else I have been thinking about…if you are not being listened to then perhaps you are not listening. What can’t we hear from those who don’t see the value yet? If we can’t fully get into “their” world we will never enroll them in ours.

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..A Moment of Courage – Part I

  • Amber Naslund

    @Susan I actually love this approach, and have kicked it around quite a bit. I think internal deployment of social media strategies can create breakthroughs. Folks see the potential in these tools, and then start seeing beyond the mechanics and discover the strategy. I’d love to hear more about companies who might be trying this tack.

  • http://randomactsofleadership.wordpress.com Susan Mazza

    @Amber I am working with a company on this right now. The most interesting thing for me so far has been the resistance of the internal tech guys. Part of it seems to be they don’t believe the tools measure up to the hype. But I think there is a lot more to it than that. Fortunately for me the CEO is already a believer and on January 1 launched his first internal blog. So we are off! Now to figure out how to befriend & enroll the tech guys…

    Does anyone else have experience dealing with this?

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..A Moment of Courage – Part I

  • http://randomactsofleadership.wordpress.com Susan Mazza

    @Amber I am working with a company on this right now. The most interesting thing for me so far has been the resistance of the internal tech guys. Part of it seems to be they don’t believe the tools measure up to the hype. But I think there is a lot more to it than that. Fortunately for me the CEO is already a believer and on January 1 launched his first internal blog. So we are off! Now to figure out how to befriend & enroll the tech guys…

    Does anyone else have experience dealing with this?

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..A Moment of Courage – Part I

  • http://www.Asfaq.com Asfaq Tapia

    Amber / Susan: Maybe another way to do this is to influence the influencer?

    Every company has its departments with its set of groups in the departments. You could organically influence the influencers in those groups and soon you’ll have quite a few people prodding and ‘testing the waters’ with these tools..

    Albeit gingerly at first, but soon with the right amount of encouragement, they could be quite a passionate force – simply because they tried it themselves and were not forced to use ‘try’ the tools. What do you think?

    Asfaq Tapias last blog post..How to approach a journalist