Sunday, September 13, 2009

3 Social Media Portals Revealed

In early May I introduced the business case for an organization to create a social media portal in a blog post I thought would generate a significant amount of interest. Readership was modest and there were a couple of retweets, yet the feedback I received was tepid at best.

Thankfully, we were a bit more persuasive with a set of Strategic Communications Group’s (Strategic) clients who recognized an opportunity to elevate the success of their digital programs through a portal approach.

Let’s take a moment to revisit the original post, entitled “The Goodness of Social Media Portals.” My premise is that organization-wide adoption of social media – although a positive development – creates a number of significant headaches for corporate communications and marketing professionals.

For starters, there is the issue of consistency in strategy and messaging. The potential for a cacophony of competing voices is one of the reasons why the Pentagon is considering a limit on the social media engagement of military personnel.

Then there is the requirement to monitor the distribution of information to the market to ensure financial, legal and other contractual agreements are adhered to. I realize there are some in social media circles who argue for a free flow of information across social networks.

However, these purists lose sight of the fact that the real world is comprised of lawyers, shareholders and governing bodies. The value of an open exchange with little in the way of guidelines does not outweigh the pain of an SEC investigation.

Fast forward several months and Strategic has three clients that have now gone live with a portal as a core component of their social media program.

British Telecom’s (BT) “Secure Thinking”

Microsoft’s “Bright Side of Government"

Monster Government Solutions’ “Unleash the Monster”

While it’s inappropriate for me to divulge the strategy or specific success criteria for these innovative social media programs, I can share a couple of important factors that shaped the thinking at BT, Microsoft and Monster.

1. Develop a strong, clear and consistent voice to the market, leveraging social networks to connect with and engage a myriad of key stakeholders.

2. Publish compelling thought leadership content from multiple sources within the organization, structured in a manner that easy to access and digest.

3. Share community across multiple social media platforms to extend reach and influence.

My colleague Chris Parente also has an interesting take on social media portals and how they help a company effectively organize and present its content.


Stephen Breen said...

Hi Mark
Nice post. At Breen Media and our sister company rein4ce we're developing social media packages for businesses to get into this space and one of the things we're doing is guidelines for how organisations use social media. We've come to just about exactly the same conclusions as you about posting. It is important for businesses to have a consistent corporate message. Social media is just another communications tool and there needs to be some kind of gatekeeper like the PR team to sign off information before it goes out.
Good round up and thanks again.

People Behind Payments said...

Hi Marc,

Digging out after a vaca but always worth a quick look to see what you're up to.

Computerworld has a new article out on the value and ROI of social media where Litle & Co.'s Director, Corporate Communications weighs in:

Should I be surprised that the Microsoft link didn't work for me? ;-)

Twitter: Alex_at_LitleCo

Marc Hausman said...

Thanks for the comment, Alex. And for sharing the link to the Computerworld article.

Microsoft link works for me:

Talk to you soon!