I was surfing around the web today and I stumbled across the following Dilbert strip re-posted on the ChurchCrunch blog.
The strip is funny but at some companies probably not too far off the mark. The key forces at play in the strip and in real life are control and trust.
The simple truth is any company that believes it totally controls its message is fooling itself. As a corporate executive, you might not want your company to participate on Twitter or Facebook but others will talk about you there. You can choose to influence those online conversations or you can stand on the sidelines and completely relinquish control of them.
The other issue is trust. As the Dilbert boss explicitly states, the employees there are not trusted to use social media tools at work, nor are they trusted to work from home. Even the CEO of a small company probably does not have the time to put in the effort necessary for a proper social media program. So as CEO, you’re going to have to summon the trust and give the right employee or outside vendor the authority to represent you in the cyber-world. It doesn’t have to be a free-for-all. On the contrary, as Shama Kabani suggests in her book The Zen of Social Media Marketing your journey into social media starts with a social media policy that governs what your employees will and will not share.
For the old fashioned company, social media is a scary new world. You just have to swallow real hard and jump in because your braver, more nimble competitors are already there exerting influence on their public persona and consumer’s willingness to buy from them.