Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Social Media Debate: Setting Goals or Being Where our Stakeholders Are

I mentioned in an earlier blog an IABC Networking Nine dinner I attended November 16th.

These dinners include about nine people who know something about a specific topic. The topic for the November 16th dinner was blogging. This quickly became social media in general.

It was interesting to me that while we all agreed on many things, there seemed to be two camps on what might motivate an organization to participate in social media.

A number of participants seemed to have jumped into social media simply because it is happening. Their argument is they need to be where their stakeholders are. Since a number of these folks work for large technology companies, this is a good argument. Their stakeholders are almost certainly online, and at least dabble in social media.

However, just being where stakeholders are doesn't strike me as enough. This brings us to the other main point of view, which is all corporate communications activities, including social media, should have a behavioral goal driving them. That is, in the long run, social media communications should be intended to increase the likelihood of some behavioral goal. Such goals might include increasing:
  • Employee engagement and reducing turnover
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Shareholder likelihood to buy and hold stock
  • Regulator and legislator likelihood to include the organization's point of view in drafting legislation and regulations
  • Community willingness to have a company facility sited in their neighborhood
and so forth.

Organizations will always need to prioritize activities and resource allocation to thrive and even survive. The way they do this is by setting goals and screening activities and allocations by how much they contribute to achieving those goals.

So, I agree that it's a good idea to be where your stakeholders are. But I still want to know what you are doing there and why.

What do you think?

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