by Lisa Zone

February 9, 2015

“The unexamined [social media strategy] is not worth [executing].” – Socrates [and me]

By now, most B2B organizations have at least dipped their toes into the world of social media. But many are struggling with how to make the most of what they’re doing. Programs stall. Or they’re too narrowly – or widely – focused from an audience perspective. Or departments outside of communications or marketing want to take a different approach. (And sometimes that approach is “no approach.”)

No matter the issue, I’d argue they all point to a fundamental question: What is your company’s social media philosophy? If your B2B organization is struggling with establishing – or amplifying – its social media program, it’s important you can answer that fundamental question. But how? I’d suggest hosting a social media workshop within your organization as a first step.

Social media workshops can be an effective way to convene a cross-functional group from within your organization – including communications, marketing, HR, legal, IT and (for public companies) IR – to debate and determine your company’s social media philosophy. (All of those functions generally can and will have a say in social media, particularly for B2B companies.)

So where do you start? Consider these exercises as a jumping-off point for your workshop, which should get you on the way to building consensus around your corporate social media philosophy.

Identify opportunities and risks

Give each workshop participant 10 minutes to think about their answers to the questions below. When everyone is finished working individually, facilitate a 30- to 45-minute group discussion.

  •  What is the biggest takeaway you’d like to gain from this session? (Note: This will provide a lot of insight about participants’ current attitudes toward social media for your organization.)
  •  What do you see as the top three opportunities for [company name] to use social media?
  •  What do you see as the top three risks or concerns about [company name] using social media?

Prioritize stakeholders

Create a list of stakeholder groups that are most important for your company to reach using social media. Consider both internal (employees, board members, etc.) and external (potential employees, investors/analysts, customers, media outlets, communities, etc.) audiences.

Divide workshop participants into smaller working groups. Each group should spend 15 minutes prioritizing the stakeholder groups you’ve identified. When time is up, each group will report out, with the facilitator focusing the discussion around why each group was ranked as such.

This exercise will illustrate how close – or far – you are from nailing your overall corporate social media philosophy from an audience perspective.

Prioritize situations and opportunities

Using the list of “opportunities” identified in the first exercise (which you should have captured on flip charts or white boards), give each participant five “votes” to select the situations they feel present the biggest opportunity for your organization. The situations with the most votes will provide a good roadmap as you solidify your corporate social media philosophy.

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” – Socrates [and you, by the end of your workshop]

Once you build consensus around your organization’s corporate social media philosophy, you can revisit your strategy, determine the most effective platforms to execute against that strategy and identify who should play a role on your company’s social media team.

If you’re interested in talking more about hosting a social media workshop at your organization, drop me a line or give me a call  at 216.241.4629.