learning-organization-1I was reading today a new report that was released by one of the Social Media vendors on how to do Social Media Marketing. It is quit a good guide with lots of helpful information. It does however focus more on the outbound side of the equation, leaving the rest of the Social Media Marketing pie up to you to figure out.

I’ve always said that working in Social Media is similar to what some adults may have told you when you were young child (and being a little too loud). You have one mouth and two ears, and you should use them in those proportions.

Now while I would never say that ‘One size fits all’ in how you should run a Social Media program, I do like these proportions (1/3 vs 2/3s) as a good starting point. There are those organizations, media/entertainment as example, that are obviously going to be much more outbound oriented, but in the corporate world, you should be listening much more than you are talking.

And this is where I find the problem with many Social Media programs.

When you are doing analysis of your outbound messaging, the data that you look at, and the determination that you make based on this data, generally affect the Social Media program itself, and the associated marketing programs. However, when you are listening and analyzing the general conversation that is taking place online, these conversations can affect any area of your organization.   You should be listening for a wide variety of conversations regarding your executive officers, product safety, advertising campaigns and customer service, along with many, many other topics. The analysis of each of the conversation topics needs to go back to the internal organization that needs to be made aware of them. This requires two key sets of skills.

1 – Analysis: None of these internal organizations are going to either have the time, nor the talent, to do the analysis necessary on the captured information. The social media team needs to pick up on these conversations and provide them to the social media liaisons on each team, with enough analysis performed against the data so that the teams can make sense of the data. If this is a topic that will trend over time, a continual program needs to be put in place until the conversation has run its course.

2 – While I essentially covered this in point #1, this information needs to be distributed. I find many times that organizations collect all of the valuable content online, but then nothing is done with it. This is one reason that you need to establish a social media counsel with in your organization. This give everyone a seat at the table, and while everyone may want a voice, it is better that they lend and ear to the conversation taking place.

With these two steps, you’ve turned your organization into a Learning Organization, that can take input from everywhere, filter out the noise, and produce results that improve the quality of products and services it provide to all your customers, partners, owners, or anyone that the company may interface with.