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Why you won’t be able to scale your social media

I’m always encouraged when I watch a Jeremiah Owyang presentation and see that the work that we are  doing is exactly right according to his analysis of the social business integration path that we are all on (yes, you too.)  See what you think about this one.

He starts off by talking about the danger of Social Media Sanitation:


Difficulty responding online unless people start yelling?  Limited resources?  Rogue departments (or members) deploying sites on their own?  That’s got to sound familiar.

So how do you build your social media infrastructure so you can grow and scale and, as Jeremiah says, achieve “escape velocity?”

1.  Jeremiah Owyang says in this Dreamforce talk that YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SCALE if you have a centralized model for social media management.  You need a hub and spoke model, small team (“center of excellence”) serving a number of different business units (departments, geography, product groups, etc).

2. This is the model that we help most of our clients set up – a social media service center that sits in the middle and serves every other department.  The service center (aka social media team) sets policy, provides training, selects technology vendors (or requirements for such), researches new tools and sites, sets metrics for measuring success based on organizational goals.  In exchange, the business units or departments agree to manage their own social media efforts, report their progress, and share best practices with other departments.

3. Streamlining workflow is an obvious one that needs no further explanation, though there are wide variations in what software deployments we’re talking about with our clients.  But Jeremiah makes the important point that there are many acquisitions and tech consolidations happening that are going to make things easier to deploy (as opposed to using a whole bunch of different tools for workflow, monitoring, influence scoring etc.)

4. Companies need to look very carefully at building peer to peer communities to help scale their efforts – such as customer service sites staffed by customers (the GetSatistfaction model).  Associations are WAY ahead on this one.

5. By “growing an unpaid army of advocates”, Owyang means finding evangelists to promote and sell your programs and services – not just through word of mouth, but by actual training in advocacy. (Walmart moms, Target moms, SalesForce MVPs, Fiskateers, Makers Ambassadors…)

6. Integration – social is no longer a silo – and you no longer need social media strategists like us.  That is exactly our goal when we work with an organization – to get them to the point where they don’t need us.

Towards the end, Owyang describes what he sees when he looks at a company’s website.  He can tell who runs the show based on your homepage (or the fact that everyone is jockeying for position).  He can tell if you’re social media is passive or active – he can see your social culture. Does the CEO have an account?  Do you have communities?  He can tell how proficient you are with aggregating content – whether you’re curating it or just feeding it to your site without curation.  He can see if you promote active sharing after any action on your site.

We look at all of this too.

Watch the whole presentation here. It’s about 40 minutes long but worth it.



(photo credit)


maddiegrant October 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

@jowyang you know I follow your work religiously :)

lornaphillipson October 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Very! @MariSmith @socialfish Why you won’t be able to scale your social media [Interesting!]

chrisfictoor October 27, 2012 at 6:49 am

@MariSmith @socialfish Mary, thank you very much for this interesting post + video! Dealing with the same issues at one of our clients! THNX

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