Bruce Lee and Social Media
You can watch the famous scene here: http://bit.ly/9tx34G
I think social media is like that. We’ve been staring so much at the finger, we’ve forgotten that we’re supposed to be getting stuff done. Well, the party’s over. It’s time to get over the shock and awe of social media and start using it for work. Yes, social media is the greatest thing since sliced bread. My point is let’s stop looking at the bread and start making some sandwiches.
One company here in Hawaii is being very smart about it. They have some pretty interesting plans for social media and have asked us to develop a winning solution.
The challenge? They have 10 locations across the Hawaiian islands and about 100 employees. Like all companies, they need to ensure everyone is plugged in and happy. That means corporate needs an effective way to keep all employees well informed of what’s happening inside the company. Yes, email works. So does texting or even faxing. But all that seems so old school now.
The solution? Social media. Imagine a password-protected space on the internet, where employees could login and get company news. Imagine a place where each employee can create his/her profile, post pictures, a brief description about themselves, and maybe something about their hobbies and interests. Imagine the ability to create groups around organizational functions. Maybe there’s a marketing group, an accounting group, and an IT group. There could even be groups for extracurricular activities, like community service projects and company volleyball after work. Imagine calendars, chats, training videos and blog posts. Imagine frictionless ways to send messages and share content and to push those messages to the desktop and to smart phones. Imagine a living, breathing, media-rich communication platform inside the company, allowing employees to share ideas and mentor each other in real-time, while working both on the business and in the business.
Interested? You can do the same for your business. Here’s what you need to know.
Something like Facebook would be perfect. It has the features you need. The only problem is employees need sufficient distance between work and play. The last thing anyone wants is the boss poking around all those private status updates. So using Facebook is – at least for the time being – not going to work.
Fortunately, there are two off-the-shelf solutions that will do everything need: SocialCast.com and SocialText. I have been playing with both and a like them very much. There are hosted options and solutions for doing everything yourself in-house. Costs range from $1-5 per user per month, depending on how many features you want. Start up costs are nominal.
My biggest concern, though, with SocialCast.com and SocialText.com is on-going cost. They can really add up over time. So if you want to use social media but don’t want to subscribe to a service, take a look at existing blogging solutions and simply customize them for your company’s needs. Most will do exactly what you need them to do, including profiles, groups, video, text/email notifications, etc. You can even password protect your hui. Consider these platforms: Posterous.com, Tumblr.com, LiveJournal.com, WordPress.org and Blogger.com. Each can be easily customized and password protected. You can even put your solution behind your website, where only authorized users can have access.
Now, when choosing a solution, make sure it offers genuine utility for your employees. In other words, if you opt for a sexy solution with all the bells and whistles, it may just be overwhelming for everyone and ultimately lead to poor adoption rates. Engineering is good. But over engineering is bad.
To get everyone on board, it’s best to keep it simple and let the solution grow organically. In the end, the solution must work well for most of the people on your team. And for those employees who are reluctant to do anything new, this may be the perfect opportunity to offer much appreciated staff training and development.
Lastly, be sure to harness the decentralizing aspect of social media. Give your employees the freedom to access the platform and supply updates anytime, anywhere. To get the biggest bang, be willing to cede some control. As I’ve discovered in my business, one idea from the least likely person on your team could be worth a million dollars.
Let me know if I can help with anything.