If you’re getting involved with social media, you must believe the premise that it gets you better and more robust ideas than a consultant could deliver.
So then why use a consultant to feed you social media ideas? Instead, use social media to get ideas from your employees and other stakeholders.
There are at least four benefits to this approach:
- It’s a way to get familiar with how to deploy social media, its organizational friction and your comfort level with its consequences before you go public,
- You’ll learn who in your organization ‘gets’ social media and they’ll be great helps when you roll out larger systems,
- You’ll benefit from the power of social media to give you a larger quantity and a greater diversity of information about the social media world as it applies to your company than any consultant can deliver, and
- The process and the result have the same DNA.
The team managing this process needs some IT people, but should be heavily weighted towards facilitators (If you have an organizational development area, that’s probably a good place to look.) The role of your social media consultant should be as a resource for this team.
Because collaborative thinking works best if you have a critical mass of shared assumptions, start by setting up a wiki and asking your employees:
- How your company, your competitors, suppliers, customers, the public and they themselves are using social media, and
- What’s being said about your company and industry in social media?
After a while, assign a team with heavy representation from the major contributors to clean up the wiki so it’s succinct and understandable.
Next, incorporate some more social media tools to solicit and discuss ideas about how people might use social media in their areas and what other applications they see (Metrics will be both key and controversial.)
This will leave you with a robust set of ideas that are:
- More numerous than would have occurred to a dedicated team or consultant,
- Comprehensively analyzed from a number of perspectives by the people who will benefit from them and implement them, and
- Owned by the people who’ll determine their success.
What do you think?