Why is it hard to engage your organization in social media content creation?

Sparrow-Social Media -StratoServeHow to engage your organization in social media content creation? is a challenge for most organizations. Call it the legacy of the old industrial world, you joined a large organization and hoped to keep your job for life. The formula was ” keep your head down” , “keep your mouth shut” , “stay out of trouble” and “stay below the radar.” In fact, this blogger once encountered a head of HR (before Twitter) who had a glass sheet on his table that had The Story of the Sparrow facing the visitor to HR. For those readers unfamiliar with the story, do check out the story of the sparrow that is recounted by the late novelist-academic Raymond Federman. The moral of the story includes the verb “twitter”.Given that the Federman version of the story is before “Twitter” became famous is prophetic, for most employees worldwide would be unsure about tweeting today….

Couple the “sparrow effect”  with the PR department that has historically overseen press releases and conducted press briefings. If every employee started tweeting and posting stuff on the Facebook page of the organization, there would be serious chaos, is the typical PR department view.

So you have two forces of the Industrial era i.e. HR and PR  that reign in employee initiative when it comes to social media content . Both have great historical reasons for being hesitant, except that that the world has changed as follows:

  • HR concerns: Are primarily with the ability of the workers to unite and question the management via social media. You therefore hear about some company related Facebook post that got an employee into trouble. Today HR scholars and leading practitioners are trying to work on re-orienting the HR function so that employees feel safe and trained to undertake social media communications on behalf of the organizations. After all the employee is nearest to the work being done by her and is the most authentic voice – so important in social media success.
  •  PR worries: As the world changes with social media and easy access to information US Newsrooms have seen a major decline in staffers. Unless a story is path-breaking, there are no journalists that can attend a PR event. It’s far cheaper and easier today to send out a PR briefing online  rather than try and motivate tightly stretched journalists to attend an event. Fortunately many PR leaders and scholars are talking about how to become internal PR coaches in the organization so that multiple employees can share their achievements and successes online.

The above forces should make marketers life easier as they try and get all organizational members to share authentic stories online directly. More on how to mobilize your organization for social media, in a later post. About StratoServe Digital Marketing Services.

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