One of the most important observations coming from our Social Media Buyers Guide Project was the distinction between the two mindsets that drove strategic decision making.
There are clearly different schools of thought with regards to which is best here, and in which situations it is most appropriate to seek these different types of return on time and return on investment. This is a strong reinforcement of the fact that every situation is indeed unique. It is therefore paramount that creativity, adaptability and flexibility of ALL team members (internal and external) is a required trait within this fast changing market environment.
This is seemingly the key decision an organization should make before creating a more detailed Social Media strategy. All else that follows is much easier if you can all agree on that decision. This is the cornerstone of a great Social Media strategy.
But the best of the best companies know it is not an either/or decision, but one of to what degree being focused on the bottom line or being focused on building reputation is emphasized. The best do just enough of each, with their objectives in harmony and a flexible attitude to know when to color outside the lines.
This is the one crystal clear advantage of having a bigger company. Unfortunately for the typical large enterprise though, that advantage is often eclipsed by their complete inability to align their goals between different groups inside highly politicized working environments. The silo walls are still quite thick, even though we have talked about this problem for decades.
It is our recommendation that you get together with everyone involved and spend an hour or two talking about the question of how much you should be focused on the bottom line vs. building your overall reputation. What are those key metrics that really matter most to the business not to your bonus? Why do you feel this way? Remember, we are trying to find the right solution for your unique situation, there is no one right answer but there is one right way of discovering what is best, and that is open and honest conversation.
Perhaps then going forward, you can find other ways to talk about things like this and get all your oars rowing in the same direction. Could you imagine such a day???
PS – we are talking more about this topic at our panel during Web 2 Expo this Friday at 2:40 PM in Room 2006.