We were discussing many of these issues last week during a day-long workshop that Peppercom co-led with CableFax, the cable industry trade publication, and Access Intelligence (its parent company). The workshop focused on how cable and media companies can learn to leverage social media more effectively within their current internal and external communications/marketing efforts. No surprises really came from this group. In many cases, even the largest companies are just dipping their toes into the digital water right now. Others haven’t created a social media strategy due to lack of resources, expertise or because their organization is still figuring out where this new functional discipline should be housed internally.We also had two excellent guest speakers, a research team from MTV Networks who discussed how their organization is using social media research to serve its many properties (i.e. MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, etc.) from a content and marketing standpoint. What I found most interesting, though, is how they’ve leveraged social media to unite so many different business functions within the organization. In their experience, this still misunderstood medium can bring many factions within a company together for the first time. And that’s exciting.
How is this possible? Well, after applying some logical analysis, it makes sense. What we heard is that most companies (at least in the cable and media industries) have not yet created one social media function or division within the organizational chart that runs across the company. Instead, various resources are often siphoned from different departments within the organization to take the lead on figuring out social media. These people are then deemed “social media experts.” I’m sure that outside specialists are also brought in to show the way in many cases as well. But the point for MTV Networks is that, because its many business lines, brands and marketing areas are all intently trying to learn how to apply social media to their communications/marketing/audience engagement efforts, these factions find themselves opening up, integrating and simply working better with each other to learn and leverage best practices. More specifically, our guests discussed how social media research serves to play this unifying role (i.e. everyone wants it to make better decisions about specific campaigns/projects that should be created or not based on this first-time research).
In essence, because social media is so new and still somewhat mysterious (at least to its ultimate effect), it can actually serve to change the unwritten political rules that govern how internal behavior works within large organizations. Of course, this was but one example from one workshop. But, the possibilities are still pretty exciting.