Engagement processes and workflow in social media listening
Tiffany Winman 12000065XB firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  processes engagement media listening workflow social-media ibm social
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One of the items I've been grappling with this quarter is to take much of the social media listening any good corporate social media strategy requires and then enable an effective engagement strategy that will be good for the business and good for the folks who would benefit by IBM engagement.
I'm thankful that many of our listening tools have customer relationship management and workflow processes embedded in them, but the tougher work really is in documenting the various scenarios we are identifying via listening, mapping them to the types of IBM organizations and staff that need to be involved for engagement, and then, oh yes, transforming a business culture to manage the engagement effectively while understanding that social media creates a whole new environment where many types of people and organizations (inside and outside of IBM) may engage the same people and get them what they need more effectively and efficiently.
I face all sorts of interesting situations, such as official Support content can only be hosted on official IBM sites--therefore, our engagement strategy should be to point people to existing information rather than duplicating or transmitting it into social media environments. Or how might engaging in social media come in conflict with traditional support processes and levels of support based on customer support contracts?
Other interesting scenarios: IBM analyst relations teams have strict rules of engagement on who can interact with external analysts, but in the social media realms, all sorts of IBM employees are interacting with analysts on a daily basis--not because they are trying to usurp the role of the analyst relations team, but rather that they have naturally found one another and interact with each other based on common interests, needs, and questions in social media networks. IBM employees may not even realize they are engaging with an analyst. The same types of situations arise with media and press relations. We can't just say, "Traditional rules of engagement apply." This is nice in theory (or is it?), and it doesn't transfer over to social media realms so easily.
One of the beauties of social media is that it flattens traditional hierarchies, and in a large organization such as IBM, it's impossible to manage social media interactions and relationships (not like we'd want to micromanage anyway!). And I don't want to squash the goodness of social media use or deflate the positive energy of IBM employees engaging in social media. Yet, we have teams such as analyst and press relations for very very good reasons. My personal approach is to provide guidance to our employees and educate them on existing practices of engagement and sensitivities requiring understanding with whom, where, and how they're interacting in social media environments as much as possible. I also try to clearly document engagement scenarios and get the appropriate departments integrated into our engagement workflow so, as best we can, we get appropriate handoffs in place to execute a "responsible" engagement strategy.
Changes in technology and culture typically cause clashes between "old" and new paradigms. Nothing new here. But, I'm interested in how your company or companies you know are managing education, roles, and processes as they relate to social media strategy and engagement. Do you have any interesting stories, dilemmas or best practices to share?