Our Thinking

Social Infrastructure

Look around, and you are surrounded by advertisements: which ones catch your eye?  Likely, the ones that are the loudest.  Unfortunately, the race to the loudest is making it hard for anything to get through.

One of the key reasons for corporate interest in Social Media is that it is a completely new channel, one with a volume level far lower.  Unfortunately, as more organizations (and people) pile into it, the volume gets louder, and effectiveness drops.  Today’s question: is there a way to cut through the din and improve engagement?

The answer is a resounding yes: first develop a social infrastructure, and only then begin with social campaigns.  Here’s part of the infrastructure:

  • Develop a baseline presence on all relevant key Social Media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+,…)
  • Develop your organization’s main website on a socially-enabled platform, such as WordPress, to allow content syndication.
  • Empower a community of interest, where there is low-level engagement, responses to comments, and a “business as usual” attitude.
  • Implement a Customer Relationship Management system that captures each relationship, and translates the “community” to transaction, based on one-to-one relationship marketing.
  • Embed Social Media activities into the responsibilities of every department of the organization, not just marketing: HR, Operations, Customer Service, Sales, IT, etc.
  • Monitor and measure the effectiveness of the organization’s overall efforts: has developing the Social Infrastructure been worth it?
  • Train staff on how to take the organization’s message forward, along with how to steward the organization’s brand.

Once the Social Infrastructure is built, it acts as an effectiveness multiplier for each campaign.  Rather than executing the campaign to a broad, unknown group, it can be built outward from those already in the CRM, plus friendlies on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.  As this group already is close to you: no need to shout.  Another analogy – the fastest a car can go is dependent on many factors – but the driving surface is near the top of the list.  No matter how fancy the car is or how big the engine, the vehicle can only go so fast on a dirt road or an unpaved field.

This week’s action item:  What is the ratio of time that you spend on one-off campaigns, versus developing social infrastructure?  This week, build out at least one more part of the infrastructure.

Bonus insight:  Social Infrastructure works on an individual level as well.  What are the professional Social activities that are embedded in your day-to-day?  The more firmly this is established the more effective will be your “campaigns”: professional support, business development efforts, job search, etc…