The window into your company is open
In the mad race to become, overnight, enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0-friendly, companies are seeking to talk up their “engagement” in the new process in an attempt to lure in talent. I had a rather animated discussion the other night with someone telling me with great bravado how he felt his company was “taking the internet seriously” and was becoming web-centric. The funny thing is that (a) it is pointless saying that you are “there” when it is entirely visible from the outside the company is still stumbling on the internet; and (b) it is not something that can — or even should — happen overnight, no matter how much money is thrown at the topic.
Examples of things to look out for (through the open window):
- number of engaged fans on Facebook fan pages
- how quickly and with which level of enthusiasm the brand replies to questions and comments (ie on a Facebook page, Twitter or even in a forum…)
- integration of social media on the ‘institutional’ website — is there a widget on the home page that promotes their social media presence?
- is their presence online being touted consistently with their offline media
- number of blogs published by the employees (with commentary and a good following) — are any of the senior managers doing blogs?
- Twitter accounts with pertinent links in the content as well as abundant followers, of course…
Get engaged before you get married!
A company’s eReputation includes its ability to engage actively its customer base. There are just too many ways to evaluate a company’s eReputation and web-centricity from the outside to say that the company is “well on its way” when the path is a long one and that they are, in reality, far from it. Humility and understatement in this regard are probably de rigueur, I would suggest. A company that is used to being transparent, moreover, will know better not to exaggerate its prowess. For most companies, especially those in the command & control system, transforming into the 2.0 mindset will be like learning a new language and there is little reason to want to say you speak a language fluently when you could be called upon to speak in that new language at any instant. The bluff is too quickly called.
Furthermore, the success of a company’s 2.0 strategy will depend on the company’s customer-centricity. The less a company is customer centric, the more the web 2.0-ness will look hollow and feel commercial.
Just as when your kid asks you from the backseat, “are we there, yet?” there is sense in understating the speed at which you expect to arrive at the destination to create more chances of a positive surprise. In the case of a 2.0 myndset, of course, it is not a destination in itself, but a journey.
So, I ask the question, are you there yet? And, if you are not, what message are you sending to your teams?