Herding your cats in social media

These “rogue” activities are eventually discovered by corporate, one way or another. I’ve been in more than one awkward meeting where a team is presenting the results of a listening/conversation audit and starts discussing the client’s social media presences – only to be interrupted by a red-faced marketing VP who was unaware of these activities. More often, clients approach us and ask what do to about the proliferation of accounts, wanting to encourage participation but needing to manage for brand risk and reputation. Gaining control of these situations requires a straightforward set of activities, involving implementation of social media policies and guidelines and understanding how organizational structure and culture need to flex in order to support social business.

But then a new problem arises.

After an organization has established process to manage social media, accounts proliferate. Geographies, product lines, and business functions work through appropriate channels to request account creation. They work with agency partners to integrate social media into paid, earned, and owned campaigns. The organization buzzes with the sound of engagement…or is it more like a cacophony of voices, struggling to be the loudest signal to carry over the deafening noise in today’s social media landscape?

You see, most companies assume that a corporate wrangler – whether from digital marketing, corporate communications, or elsewhere – will round up the brand’s cats and orchestrate the movement of their individual cats something akin to this:

In reality, social media activity is still very much out of control at most companies. And the problem is getting worse as businesses now see the potential of social media, accelerating corporate adoption and usage. Handling “social media management” used to mean creating a content calendar and having a tool to publish – today the challenge entails that process and multiplying by 10x and adding in new languages, disparate local business goals, and varied skill sets. Let’s call this a “governance” issue.

The tools I’ve seen employed for governance are rudimentary at best. Most often, governance means that someone at corporate has an Excel spreadsheet that lists account names, URLs, and employees responsible. That’s like trying to drive a go-cart on the highway – you’ll get there eventually but run a high risk of being run over along the way.

As an offshoot of the Dachis Group social business platform, we’ve decided to help our clients address this governance challenge by creating the Social Portfolio Insight product. It’s beta and only available to client-side social business managers, containing a directory, account analytics, and a collaboration layer. And for now it’s free to Social Business Index participants.

I would’ve called the product “Lion Tamer” but it’s not my department. For more on Social Portfolio Insight and how to gain access, here’s more information.

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  1. Hey there Pete. You’ve always been a really good thinking. But your writing is just as strong. Love this stuff. Lots of laughs in this post, and an equal number of great insights. Question: Will your new tool compete with products like HearSay or Expion?

  2. Hi Joe – great to hear from you. At this point, I would the answer is yes and no. No in the sense that the Portfolio Insight product does not facilitate publishing. Maybe in the sense that the tool helps manage a diversified set of accounts and their owners. However, I’d bet that neither tool is supported by a big data platform, which is the backbone of all our products.

  3. Occupy Wall Street meetings use a Share by Shout technique. Those sitting nearest the orator shout back what is being said so those farther back can hear. It’s a clever sharing mechanism for outdoor gatherings. Corporations would do a better job herding their cats – especially in social media – if they shared brand strategy and logic. But they don’t.

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Being: Peter Kim