A Silo Around Your Social Media Strategy Might be a Good Idea
Business experts will tell you information silos are a bad thing. Information needs to be shared throughout a business, they say, and physical or social barriers to that information will affect the organization’s overall performance.
Social media gurus bring up the issue to make the point that social media strategies need to be implemented across and throughout a business. These strategies, they tell us, rely on everyone’s investment, from the CEO to the custodians. When communication and information sharing is so important, silos are perhaps the worst possible idea.
My experience has taught me to be a little less rigid. Sometimes silos can be valuable resources when a strategy is first implemented. By tightly controlling the flow of information at the outset, you can slowly begin sharing as the strategy is understood and actually increase the odds of a successful overall effort.
Considering one study suggests that 64% of the CEOs of the world's largest companies aren't engaging via social media themselves (and therefore don't understand it),this type of (admittedly sneaky) strategy may be useful.
Let me illustrate what I mean.
Four years ago at my university, everything communicated externally passed through our public information office (PIO). When I was made director of social media three years ago the first thing I did was establish a policy that excluded other departments from our affairs. Why?
Simply put, I knew that the PIO held a very traditional view of external communication. The staff there (and elsewhere) believed that information should be manicured and tested before being made available to the public. Social media is precisely the opposite of this. Social media is sometimes messy, has misspelled words, and is very personal.
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More than that, social media is social, and so it sometimes involves risks.
Focusing on Facebook, we used our page to entertain and interact with our students. One of our first posts asked students what their favorite zombie movie was. To this we received an enormous number of responses. Another popular question asked students about their favorite video game. Yet another asked about favorite sci-fi movie. We’ve had conversation about Darth Vader vs. Luke, the difference between geeks and nerds, and the devolution of science fiction.