Empower the Outliers
I stumbled across a post on doteduguru about a week ago that discussed bringing all of the departments and divisions of a college under a social media brand presence. The basic theme: marketing departments and webmasters should take the lead in creating social network profiles. They can use this lead to advise or discourage individual departments from pushing into these programs.
I work at a place that’s pushing itself into many of these networks. I’ve helped to shepherd and create our own little area with the idea of being part of the conversation, and I’ve been approached with questions about how other offices can do what we do. I – and a few other folks (who get it) in other departments – spend time checking in on unofficial pages just to monitor. But there’s no institutionally organized (or if there is, there’s no lead dog).
There’s too high a cost to not be a part of these conversations – to not standing in these rooms. We’re trying to figure out who grabbed some of the branded real estate and created some of the initial pages and profiles. In a way, this really forces us to be part of the conversation – to be respectful of the community norm of not being over the top in our promotion.
Rachel wrote about the merit of becoming the go-to office for other departments interested in creating profiles on the various networks. The larger gain is in creating the dominant profile. Some of our profiles that weren’t the first created on a site are lost beneath the initial profiles. This hasn’t been a problem, and we continue to watch for any issues. But we’re faced with creating a series of profiles that tie together under one theme – something that takes time and the focus of a handful of people in disparate offices.
One of the overstated new rules is the need to give up control. Don’t think you’ll pull everyone under your page. But do be as friendly and as helpful as possible – a good community member – to get others to look for leadership. You can run as lead dog, but you can’t rein in others unless the executives decree it. That’s the easiest way to get someone to set up a spoof page – one that you can’t control and one likely to draw lots of attention.
Stay dominant by being open to others and making it easy for everyone to contribute to your work and profile.