Get Everybody Together in the Same Room

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.

—Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The first piece of advice we’ll offer to anyone wanting to get social media off the ground in their company is “Get everybody together in the same room.” Most companies have the early adopters who will frantically tell you that you’re a year behind, the curmudgeons who still think social media is just a fad, and a lot of people in the middle who are interested and aware but don’t know how it all works and fits in.

Plus, every company has stakeholders who want a say in how you’ll move forward: marketing, public relations, the Web team, the IT department, HR, legal, and, if you’re lucky, product development, customer service, and tech support.

You need to get them all involved for four reasons:

1. Any one of those groups has the potential to scuttle your social media adoption efforts before you get them off the ground.

2. Unless you work for a company with one employee, you can’t possibly know all the ramifications yourself.

3. It’s important to invite the skeptics as well as the evangelists. You’ll find that the early adopters can help evangelize the cynics, and the cynics can bring a voice of reason for the people who want to dive in without thinking.

4. Finally, it’s the right thing to do. Social media isn’t a strategy in itself. It’s a set of tools and a philosophy of how to communicate in a real and genuine manner in the ways that ...

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