Of the five pragmatic steps that Jeremiah Owyang suggests in the January Altimeter report (recommended read), A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation, I think the most important is number 3
“Select vendors based on business needs, not marketing.”
Frankly, you can drop the “vendors” part because the real point is that it’s not about social media, it’s about what happens as a result of the arrival of social media.
When you think about social MEDIA, you naturally gravitate towards marketing, but it’s deeper than that.
When you think about SOCIAL media, however, you recognize that the arrival of the social/mobile/network-empowered consumer affects every single aspect of the business.
Social has no regard for silos, business units, or geographies. It transcends all of those.
The question then isn’t “how does social media fit into my organization?“
the question is, “how do we adapt our organization’s realities to the realities of social media?”
A very different pivot.
Chris Bailey may have written that, “Creativity is an act of open disobedience against the norms. Creativity is an act of courage,”
HOWEVER, when you are talking about a Brand that has anywhere from hundreds of dollars to BILLIONS of dollars worth of equity, you can’t have people, units, teams, or divisions just “going rogue.”
The risk to the brand is just too great…
You can’t “control the conversation,” we all know that, but you can coordinate activities to make sure that the company speaks in a unified voice…thereby delivering a unified experience which is, ultimately, the primary driver of brand value AND do it in a way that allows for creativity within the spectrum of experience.
This type of holistic, comprehensive thinking that Jeremiah put forth is really the next wave of social media adoption and represents the inevitable transformation towards social-centric organizations.