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September 1, 2015

Anticipate and Adapt to the Social Media Change Curve

When asked what made him such a successful competitor, hockey great Wayne Gretzky famously said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

The same lesson holds true for social media. In choosing the most effective communication tools and platforms for collaboration and dialogue, communicators need to anticipate where their key stakeholders—employees, managers and leaders—are headed, not where they’ve been. They need to understand these audiences well enough to proactively anticipate their needs and preferences.

For any company communications, employees place the greatest value on the tools and resources that are essential to their jobs. Most audiences deeply appreciate when their communicators curate platforms that are free of clutter and noise—the distracting information they don’t need.

And different audiences have different preferences for how they engage in social media. According to survey research:

  • Manufacturing audiences most value the Quality of Content—the instructive tools and information they need to complete routine tasks in relatively controlled environments
  • Professional services and knowledge workers seek tools that foster Engagement and Dialogue, making it possible to innovate, crowd source and search for the customer solutions they need
  • IT workers, whose job is to manage networks and digital spaces, place the most value on Optimization of Platforms and Tools—the company’s dedication to continuous improvement of the digital ecosystem

But remember, because different audiences have different expectations and preferences, Enterprise Social Media (ESM) tools and platforms can still be considered “successful” even when some employee groups choose not to adopt them. The trick is to listen to your stakeholders well enough to determine what works, what doesn’t, and what tools would make them more successful in their distinct company roles. 

How are you avoiding the “one size fits all” approach to ESM?

--David Grossman

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Looking for more ways to adapt your communications skill set? Download the free eBook, The Greatest Mistakes You Don't Want to Make, to avoid common pitfalls. Click the link below. 

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