Eight Steps to Creating an Effective Social Organization.

For anyone giving social a go at scale, you know that it often requires tearing down internal organizational structures, and forces teamwork across business units and markets.
Ronja Gustavsson
Ronja Gustavsson
December 17, 2013 - 3 min. read

Coming from the clients’ side as a Social Business Developer for a large enterprise, I’ve found that executing a new social plan for a large-scale organization requires the “what” of what you will be managing, but even more importantly, the “how” of how to get it done.

Internal processes and team collaboration are crucial for maximizing your social efforts. For anyone giving social a go at scale, you know that it often requires tearing down internal organizational structures, and forces teamwork across business units and markets. This is what I have learned implementing social at a scale: However you look at it, team is everything.

Whether you’re creating a dedicated internal social team, or launching a company-wide team strategy, it’s not just your customers you need to think of when developing a community around your brand. Empowering employees and coworkers to see a strategy’s value and respond as a knowledgeable part of something bigger than themselves is at the heart of your team’s social success.

#1 – Lead change

Humans are naturally resistant to change. Empowering a team to be social can cause turbulence in traditional organisational structures. The key to leading change is to get people involved in the process as early as possible. Giving everyone a sense of ownership will increase their investment in its success.

#2 – Create context

Make sure all team members understand your social strategy’s goals and objectives. By creating a context and helping all employees to visualise their contribution’s value no matter how peripheral, you’ll help avoid apathy from individuals not directly or immediately involved in the process – which will go a long way in gaining external support as your strategy broadens across business units.

#3 – Clearly defined roles

It’s vital for the success of this new venture that all team members have a strong sense of ownership, understand the objectives, and are fully invested in its success. To avoid confusion and task duplication, it’s important to clearly define each role, and lay out how it contributes to the bigger picture.

#4 – Training

Training remains the key to success in any field, and it’s no different here. Good training will keep team members motivated, boost engagement, and reduce “accident” rate. With the rapid development of social technologies and the ever-moving target of human behaviour, no one can be expected to be on top of everything all the time, but you can be educated and prepared to respond on message, with the best knowledge at hand.

#5 – Feedback & follow up

As it so often gets forgotten after training programmes come to an end, we thought it deserved its own subtitle. Be sure to continually give quality feedback, follow up on training, and ensure that everyone is on board and confident.

#6 – Team promotion

Make sure you don’t end up working in a vacuum. Your new team is part of the organisation, and for them to be able to function, they need to be recognised as a valuable contributor to the organisation. In many cases, particularly with customer support in larger organizations, a dedicated social team will need to request information from every corner of the business to handle questions and give qualified feedback. Make sure everyone knows who they are, and how they function to drive business.

#7 – Stay informed

There are many sources out there that will keep you informed on developments in digital marketing. Discover the sources that are most in line with your brand and strategy, and keep your team informed with what’s going on and who your favorite sources are. Internal newsletters sent out early every Monday can help kick off the week ahead with bullet points of recent developments and headlines, so your messaging never becomes stale.

#8 – Provide guidelines

When you empower, it’s important that everyone knows what the expectations are. Creating guidelines for what’s acceptable is a good way to keep a large team working in synch, and will facilitate creativity that isn’t going to get anyone in trouble.

How to inspire employee advocacy

Learn what employee advocacy is, and how it can extend the reach & trust of your brand.