About the Author
About the Book
The Smart Sceptic's Guide to Social Media
This book is designed to help business-to-business corporations embark on social media programmes such as employee advocacy initiatives. But hang on: this book is not like any other book on social media that you’ve come across. It focuses on promoting and sustaining employee participation in your organisation. It’s not about developing a social media strategy, nor does this book tell you how to use Twitter or Instagram or the likes. At the heart of social media is participation. That’s what I’m passionate about – getting people to participate and collaborate within business-to-business (B2B) corporations. This book is unique because I use my original empirical research with several organisations and real-life case studies to convince the sceptic in you.
Whether you have started your social media programme or are just thinking about it, the book provides supportive guidelines for promoting employee participation so that social media is not just marketing’s job, but the responsibility of all employees. Employee participation here refers to engaging employees in social media activities such as blogging, exchanging ideas through online platforms and co-creation initiatives with customers that require your organisation’s experts [knowledge workers] to engage with suppliers, partners, customers – and each other.
Many books on social media tell you the how in the what. This Smart Sceptic’s Guide tells you the how and the who.
‘The Smart Sceptic’s Guide to Social Media in Organisations’ is a B2B social media guide divided into four parts which provide research, tips and insightful interviews describing the essence of an employee participation framework. Part 1 describes the organisational setting in which the learning and change required for social media participation is likely to thrive. It is a mix of academic theory as well as practitioner experiences. In essence, it argues for the importance of considering your organisation’s prevailing culture and organisational environment when planning a change which requires participation. Does the organisation provide an environment that encourages and empowers employees to participate? Do you learn quickly and pivot when you need to? This book will improve your likelihood of success.
Parts 2 to 4 of this book focus on a proposed process for promoting employee participation during social media programmes:
Each part starts with a summary of the key takeaways in the section, a discussion of theoretical evidence backing the idea and some practical observations based on interviews and surveys conducted as part of the research. The end of each part contains real life case studies for reference and for generating ideas connected to the main idea in the individual sections. The case studies are provided by social media managers, change agents and other advisors in small and large corporations that have been involved in supporting and implementing the change needed for employee participation.
Part 2 Step One: Affirm Your Employees – this section explains the importance of affirmation at the beginning and throughout the change management process. It offers suggestions of how senior management might lead by example and provide visible support for the change. It also covers the important issue of policies and guidelines governing social media as well as ensuring the objective of venturing into social media is clearly communicated to employees.
Part 3 – Step Two: Do Analysis Right focuses on how a social media manager could get the organisation ready for social media change, embark on gathering evidence for ‘current state’, and then draw a map of where the organisation wants to go – the ‘desired state’. A process of understanding the true requirements of the business is outlined along with a means of targeting those employees or teams who could act as pioneers for leading the change.
Part 4 – Step Three: Move Into Action! describes how employees might move to act. Following analysis, some social media managers reported a tendency for the organisation to remain stuck in analysis, a kind of ‘analysis paralyses’. This part provides tips for moving into action and sustaining participation long term, even after the leader or change team is gone.
At the end of this book, I provide access to a survey tool that social media managers could use to gauge participation in their organisation or to identify where there might be gaps, e.g. is there a gap in affirmation or haven’t we done enough analysis? It is always worthwhile to benchmark your organisation at the start of your social media effort and then review six, twelve and eighteen months down the line. Is participation sustained? What more needs to be done? It is also important to tie your social media efforts to the impact on the business as part of your measurement tools. This book has some ideas on how this might be done.
This book offers some great insights for social media managers tasked with leading or supporting social media programmes, whether you are an internal agent or a consultant. The book provides a three-step framework for promoting and sustaining employee participation. You will benefit from this book if:
- You are a manager or executive with reservations about how social media could benefit your organisation
- You are a social media manager new to an organisation or to the role
- You manage social communities for your organisation and are finding it difficult to get employees to participate
- You are a team leader who has a passion for social media but you are struggling to get your team members to participate
- You have a social business idea but are not sure how to present it to your boss and ultimately to your organisation
- You are a manager who thinks social media might help your organisation but you would like more real life examples and some empirical evidence.
- Understand the influence of corporate environments on employee participation.
- Ensure there is visible and communicated affirmation and support for employees such that they buy into your advocacy programmes.
- Embark on purposeful analysis and social media experimentation to understand the current state of your organisation and to identify future requirements that enables employee participation.
- Sustain participation through employee training, support and influential leadership