found ways to overcome these challenges, and in some cases,
they are still exploring viable solutions. In short, the insights in
this guide are not ‘‘ours’’ alone; they are a compilation of the
research, risks, experience, and wisdom of many trailblazers. The
lessons will continue to unfold as we all gain more experience in
this ongoing journey.
The Process
Process activities are high-level tasks you can perform in shaping
the progress of social media adoption. We have identified the
following process activities:
1. Get intelligence
2. Clarify objectives
3. Design strategies
4. Implement the plan
5. Measure outcomes
6. Leverage learning
It is difficult to describe this process without the practices
that must accompany them. We have separated the two in order
to force a distinction, but in reality they are inextricablewhat
we do and how we do itjust as science and art should go hand
in hand to create great masterpieces.
Get Intelligence
Perhaps this first step in the process should read ‘‘Become intel-
ligent by getting intelligence.’’ Begin your effort armed with
information about your environment and your organization.
Many strategic planning efforts begin with an environmental
scan or SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
and threats). In an environmental scan, an organization gathers
information about both the external and internal environments
so that leaders can make better decisions in the planning pro-
cess. It is easy to imagine the benefits of gathering intelligence
about the external environment. For example, a consumer pack-
age goods company, perhaps a cereal company, might study
the demographics of potential customers, researching whether it
should develop products geared toward the Boomer population or
capturing the loyalty of Millennials? The product as well as the
marketing campaigns may vary drastically. And as a result, the
employees the company hires and the development it p rovides
will differ as well.
Internal environments are just as important. Work911, an
online business planning Web site, notes the importance of
internal scans and their connection with a systems model: ‘‘An
internal environmental scan involves looking at the present capa-
bilities of the organization (infrastructure, hardware, personnel,
abilities, structure, etc.) and that information can be compared
to what the organization will need in the future to achieve its
strategic goals.’’
Here’s what we think you should include in your intelligence
gathering effort and why. Table 6.1 describes key recommended
areas of information you will need to gather about your organiza-
tion’s population and how to use this intelligence in the adoption
Clarify Objectives
A little enthusiasm can be dangerous. As more individuals
become comfortable with social media, organizations will increas-
ingly begin to investigate its advantages. Often new users’ enthu-
siasm may lead them to adopt strategies that don’t necessarily
address their true needs. Although we recommend experimen-
tation, we are strong advocates of clarifying the needs of your
organization and determining how social media can best propel
performance. This is particularly important for organizations that
are trying a top-down approach and those that are entering the
leveraging phase.
Table 6.1 Social Media Organizational Assessment
Description: Use your intelligence to:
Age, ethnic background,
tenure in the company,
industry experience
Position communications to
have greatest impact,
understand motivators,
and a nticipate resistance
Social media
user profile
Comfort level with social
technologies and typical
activities related to using
Determine which social
technologies to implement
and how to target them.
Readiness for
History of success in large
change efforts; change
leader capability; level of
trust in leaders,
technology, and each
other; shared view of the
need for social media; a
commonly understood
perception of problems
and causes driving the
need; an openness to
experimentation with new
Emphasize the need for
effective change
leadership practices,
identify and mitigate the
greatest risk a reas
involved in the
implementation process,
involve key people
effectively throughout the
effort, plan strategies for
building momentum,
maintain productivity as
change occurs.
Present state
of your
The components and
effectiveness of the
current organizational
system; how work is
accomplished and how the
organization is designed to
sustain performance
Anticipate how the use of
social media will change
the way the organization
will operate; plan for
intended and unintended
consequences; ascertain a
realistic picture of how
much ‘‘work’’ will be
involved in
implementation, what
level of social media use
you might expect to reach,
and the types of metrics
you might employ to
evaluate successful use.

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