Social Media Tutoring for Execs by Carol Sumner, IBM Senior Accelerated Value Leader
One of the best things about a social enterprise is the open communication between different levels in the hierarchy. Primarily this happens through status updates, where people ask questions, share resources (articles, tips, alerts), announce what they are working on or where they are going. Done appropriately, everyone becomes more aware of the overall mission, tactical goals, activities, and business processes of the organization. For this to be the most effective, however, all levels of the hierarchy must participate.
The effect of non-participation is a drag on the whole, but is particularly difficult to overcome if it happens at the management and executive levels. This is one case where leadership requires getting in the trenches with your employees. That can be a very daunting prospect, especially if you are aware that many of your employees are more skilled in social media than you are.
We've seen resistance to status updates from all kinds of employees. The reasons for this are almost as varied as the number of people there are in the company, but they tend to fall into three main categories:
I don't have anything of value to share (often accompanied by a correlating notion that others aren't sharing anything of value either).
I don't know what to share.'
I don't like the idea of having my activities monitored (big brother syndrome).
Executives and managers seem to fall into category two, sometimes with the added problem of not really knowing how to navigate the social media tools. One strategy that we are using in my organization is to offer social media tutoring for executives. They don't need to be lectured on the benefits of social business. They understand the principles, however, they are unsure of the execution.
Offering social media tutoring to executives
Include “how-to” sessions (click here, click there).
Explain concepts unique to the social business environment (“following,” public files, and so on).
Schedule the tutoring sessions, which allows the executive to focus, even if only for 20 – 30 minutes at a time.
Offer one-on-one sessions to allow for a safe and customized learning environment.
Be sure to ask what questions the executive has.
Provide examples of other executive status updates (good and bad).
Discuss specific use cases for the tools (LinkedIn versus Facebook versus Connections on the company intranet).
Reference the social business guidelines (if your company has them).
Suggest posts that the executives might want to make.
Everyone must find their own voice. Some people are simply more verbal. That is part of the normal fabric of a community. As leaders of a business that is intending to become a social business, however, executives need to step forward, even if it they must step out of their comfort zone. A little tutoring can help.
Carol Sumner is an Accelerated Value Leader with IBM Collaboration Solutions who specializes in collaboration systems implementation and administration. Carol has recently added the role of social business champion within IBM, helping teams make the most of social media. What she enjoys most about her days is helping people solve problems (and playing golf). You can contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Twitter (#sumnercl1).
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Are you reluctant to start Tweeting? Getting involved in social networks like Twitter for business use hasn’t been natural for me. In a business environment, I tend to spend a lot of time listening and learning at first . Then, when I feel confident in my understanding, I begin voicing my opinions.
I hadn’t thought much about how the w [read] Keywords: ibm