8 reasons why Social Media fails in organisations – Part 2- Business Requirements and Resourcing how to get it right

July 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

Following on from my previous post on the topic of 8 reasons why Social Media fails in organisations Part 1: No Strategy, Governance or Ownership it is now time to visit the areas of Business Requirements and Resourcing levels around the introduction of Social Media in organisations.

Fail 4/ Don’t understand business requirements – We have all experienced the technology approach of a “solution looking for a problem”. This can be the CEO who read it in a Qantas magazine, the IT person who is passionate about wikis saving the world, or any other enthusiastically misguided individual in a position of power who thinks they have ‘the answer’. The biggest problem is so often they don’t know the real problem they believe they are solving. If you want to minimise your risk of failure you need to collaborate and include your people, your customers and your suppliers/partners in finding out what the needs are that they have.  Remember People first as in our framework from the first 3 reasons why Social Media Fails in Organisations – it is called the POST framework.

  • People
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tools

Fail 5/ Don’t understand or provide resources – Many organisations heading down the Social Media path make the mistake of enabling the tools and thinking that old chestnut of “build it and they will come”.

This is a recipe for failure that has been replicated year after year since we started to implement technology platforms into our organisations. We know that 70% of change initiatives fail  so it seems fairly obvious that we need to approach this differently.

We need to have a realistic understanding of the actual costs of setting up, engaging and nurturing the communities and networks to enable them to be sustainable for the short and long term. There are steps outlined here in our Social Media Field Guide Masterclass preview presentation to help you understand some of them.

Some other steps are, to build the project/change plan and budget for any new initiative like the implementation of Social Media, by clearly understanding the requirements and benefits to the Business. If we do this effectively we have the foundation as well as the ‘shield’ to protect the project should cost cutting come along searching for low hanging fruit. If you have clearly identified the benefits ‘that will only be achieved if implemented correctly with a strong collaborative change strategy’, you will have a much better chance of protecting your budget. Its all about demonstrating clearly managed expectations around benefits, timings and outcomes.

Some further steps that you can use in your project/change plan include:

  • Work with the people to set up the community/network,
  • Educate and clarify for the community roles and responsibilities necessary in these communities and networks,
  • Allow time for key staff members to establish, nurture and sustain the community
  • Keep informing stakeholders and managing their expectations.

Developing and enabling social media communities and networks internally is a relatively inexpensive way for an organisation to learn how to do this. We can then learn from those internal communities, This then enables organisations to leverage off that learning and connect effectively with the clients and partners that are key to the success of their business.

Just to test what was going on around support roles for Social Media, I google’d Social Media Co-ordinators and got about 15,500,000 results (0.14 seconds).  I am hoping there are a lot of internally focused people in this mix to ensure we engage our own people and apply those learnings where ever relevant

We would love to hear your ideas and experiences in failures and examples of how to get Social Media right in organisations…

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