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Become a 'Social-Ready' Culture
By: Monique Terrell
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Social Media impacts many different areas of an organization, so the question becomes: Is your culture “social ready”? Better yet, what does that mean?
 
Organizational culture has been defined as “the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization.”
 
In a recent blog post, Brian Solis was asked, “How do you think social media will impact corporate culture and internal business processes?” Here’s some of what he had to say. Our culture is something that is going to change as a result of social media, as it should. No brand is an island and if you think about engagement as that of a tourism bureau, it is our job to go to where people are discovering and sharing information now in order to attract them to our story, realizing that without culture, experience, community, and corresponding value, we will not earn the relationships nor advocates we seek.”
 
I was interested in what others had to say on this topic so I set out to do some informal research using Linkedin. I asked the following question on the social network, which has more than 90 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
 
"Company culture is an important factor in the adoption and use of social media. How would you describe such a culture? What does the "social culture" look like?" Here is what some of them had to say:
 
“A social culture at a company will be based upon a new business model that encourages employees to talk freely and engage with on-line customers or prospects in a manner approved by the company and expectant by members of on-line communities. Companies say they are social but don't act it when addressing negative issues about their products, staff or company culture.” – William Dobbs, Adaptative Brand Journalist and Blogger
 
According to Steve Sonn, Senior Marketing and Public Relations Professional, social cultures usually exhibit these characteristics:
  • Engaged
  • Adaptable
  • Fast
  • Authentic
  • Helpful
  • Responsive
  • Transparent
“An innovative, experimental, early-adopter management culture, which embraces change and technology.” –Ben Acheson, Digital Marketing and SEO Professional

A social-ready culture is one that truly embraces change, authenticity, and risk; it also operates from a place of trust in their employees. Leaders need to lead by example by not just talking about social media but also using it in their daily work. It’s important that it become part of the conversation when discussing business objectives and how businesses plan to achieve their goals. Organizations will need to adopt strategies without over-thinking; in other words, hire skilled talent and give them the latitude to do their work.
 
Organizational change is a tall order and will not be easy or rapid but if they are to succeed at having a social-ready culture then the time to start the journey is now. Building a social culture is not about following a recipe. It’s about taking the necessary time to build the right attitudes for this purpose.
 
Share your thoughts about what it takes for an organization to have a social-ready culture.


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About the Author
Monique Terrell is the Sr. Manager of Social Media & Professional Networking at the College of American Pathologists. She is also owner/operator of Sparkle Internet Image Solutions, a social media marketing company. She has more than 15 years of Internet, eLearning, and website development experience. Her company provides virtual marketing services to both national and international organizations. 
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