Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do You Have a Social Media Expert in Your Shop?

Something that Paul Martecchini said in the video I posted recently struck home with me. He mentioned that some companies have low-level, maybe non-marketing, people handling social media initiatives like MySpace or Facebook pages.

I had a similar experience recently. I’m working to start up a multi-authored blog, and it’s no small feat. More about that later. What I discovered was someone in the organization—in a totally different capacity—was ideal to get it started and keep it running smoothly. It took awhile to get the organization to ask the right questions and find the right person, but it was worth the effort.

The answer to the title question is undoubtedly, “Yes.” The young man in the mailroom has a MySpace page. One staffer is an expert blogger and another has a Facebook page from her days in college. Your secretary has a Flickr page to share photographs with family. And the list goes on and on!

These people are already in your organization. They are active in social media. Think about how you can make use of them.

You might start by having some internal focus groups. I’m not ordinarily a fan of letting people volunteer for focus groups but this is an exception. Recruit volunteers from within the firm by telling them what you are interested in and soliciting their advice. Ask them what the organization should be doing to get onboard the social media express. Ask them how to attract the target audience you want to the site. Ask them if they visit commercial pages on sites like MySpace and Facebook. Why? Why not? What do they like/expect? What turns them off?

With any luck (and trust in the motives of the organization) you may identify several people who have both skills and enthusiasm. One might be the developer of your new initiative. Others might be members of an advisory group.

Use your imagination—and reach out to people in your own organization to help you establish traction in the new media environment!
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