2 phases for implementing social media in a corporate environment

There are usually two phases in which social media technology are implemented in a company: experimental and business transformation phase (Wollan, Smith, & Zhou, 2010).

Primarily in the experimental phase, the focus is on the social media technology tools, like blogs, forums, micro-blogs, vlogs, etc. (Mathaisel, 2011; Wollan et al., 2010). It is in this first phase, where the company has only implemented parts of the social media technology, and it may not be consistent across the company or the social media platforms (Wollan et al., 2010). This could have happened because a social business strategy was not drafted or implemented.  Another possibility could arise from the creation of a social business strategy where it outlines a specific experimental phase (Mathaisel, 2011).  Mathaisel (2011), stated that this possibility allows leaders like the CIO to be liberal on the technology, but still be fiscally conservative.  The inconsistencies between each technology in the second scenario could result from experimenting which techniques works best in creating relationships. However, companies should be wary that not all social media platforms will have the same type of customer base or customer segment.  Therefore, messaging can be consistent across social media platforms, but at the same time, the messaging must be tailored to the social media platform and their respective customer segment (eMedical Media, n.d.).  When this inconsistency is discovered, the silo and out-of-sync efforts will be reconciled to help move the company towards the second phase (Wollan et al., 2010).

In the second phase, the business transformation phase is where the real business value can be realized because in the first phase the derived value could be small as they are usually connected to a project or simple purpose (Wollan et al., 2010). In this business transformation phase, social media technology is seen as a strategic tool to engage and build relationships with their employees, future talent, and customers (Mathaisel, 2011; Wollan et al., 2010).  In this phase, the social media technology is integrated into the company and in particular in integrated part of Information Technology (IT) department (Wollan et al. 2010).  The integration depth into the IT department depends if the social media technology is used internally or externally.  Depending if the social media technology is used internally IT must integrate it with Active directory, data warehouses, content management, etc.; whereas if the social media technology is used externally, IT must integrate it with web analytics, logistics management, customer relationship management software, etc. (Wollan et al. 2010).

Compared to the first phase, the second phase has a more considerable amount of planning, resources, and experience (Wollan et al., 2010).  Finally, Wollan et al. (2010), stated that the key focus of the second phase was to focus on a thorough and thoughtful approach to picking the right social media technology and platform that is sustainable and scalable for interacting and building relationships with the customers.

References

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