Changing a corporate culture for Social Media

2009-07-13_143359

So far this gig I’m on has been pretty cool.  Everyone knows (in the networking world) Cisco’s presence in social media.  Its a bit forced, but when you have around a ba-zillion dollars in cash in the bank, 65K people (and slowly dwindling), and a mandatory “if you don’t have a social media element to your information it won’t be placed on Cisco.com” policy in place you are bound to get popular on social media channels.  They’re probably one of the few companies that can actually create an audience on a social media channel (no one actually uses SecondLife but since Cisco started having press conferences there, what choice did the press people have?).

Anyway, they’re successful just because.

My current gig is a whole different challenge.  This is a company not only absent from Social Media due to lack of time (some seriously over-worked people in a scrappy startup environment – my favorite situation by the way) but they tend to be very secretive with their technology.  You see, they…er…we have technology that allows us to make Wi-Fi better and yet remain Wi-Fi certified (i.e. you can use any old Wi-Fi device and we can improve the fidelity of the wireless…ALOT).  This requires technology that is patented and very unique.  When this company launched, the default was to be very secretive to keep the secret recipe from getting stolen.  

6-years later that created a corporate culture that is very busy and isn’t inclined to do the “open” think of Social Media.  In comes me.  I’m supposed to change that.  Got to get them used to social media channels, being open with the employees and customers to improve relations and strengthen the loyal customers.  This company is high concept and should be Apple to Cisco’s Windows – user focused functionality but only a few percentage points of market share (though when it comes to next generation 802.11n, their technology is shining through!).

So to start, I’ve laid the ground work – gotten their social media footprint for their brand in place.  http://Twitter.com/MeruNetworks is the main page.  They have a stodgy blog that I’m cleaning up and creating a work flow for.  I’m practically implementing a process for being fun and creative.  Its odd.  But I’m not just implementing a marketing philosophy, I’m changing a corporate culture.

So here’s where I started – 1.  Get the brand everywhere needs to be (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, etc…).  2.  Implement to tools to measure social media impact over time and to track a work flow in a CRM sense.  Here is a diagram of the CRM workflow.  I’ll be using Radian6 to track and measure results.  3.  Create a corporate Social Media policy.  I leveraged a social media policy I found on Scribd and edited it to suit this company.

Next is making the website “social enabled”, getting the blog up to date, and doing internal launches to prime the pump for an external presence launch.

Its funny to see the looks that combine enthusiasm for the possibilities with the trepidation that I KNOW (having been here on and off for 6 years) lies just beneath the surface…

Author: Joel Vincent

Growth Hacker and wine lover

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