I’ve been to enough social media conferences, panels, and events that the statement “Social media cannot live in a silo; it must be integrated” makes me want to poke my eyes out. Speakers like to say this all the time but they don’t ever seem to provide solutions. They want you to convince upper management that departments must work together. Yet they don’t give any advice to attendees who have paid hundreds of dollars to hear them.
I’ll tell you right now that it’s tough to un-silo. This is across the board – not just in corporate settings. SMBs can also have problems integrating social media into their “traditional” marketing plans. The first step is to recognize where your social media program sits and which road you’re going to put that program on. It may be housed in customer service first or marketing or communications. It will change as you move your company’s social media program forward. The road might also change, but that’s why you’re here – you’re the social media director who’s driving the car.
Second step? Talk to people in those various “silo’d” departments. You must make allies. The onus is on you because there is probably no other advocate for a social media program except you at this point. I have to do this every day, even if I get weird looks from people who consider me inconsequential. Be present.
Third step. What can you do for them? What can they do for you? Sometimes, the only thing that is the barrier is not knowing. They don’t know what you do, they don’t know what you need from them. I’ve been in meetings with clients where I go through a checklist of assets they have, promos they’re planning, archives, existing or future partnerships, and so forth, and the client says, “Oh!” The lightbulb comes on and they begin to see what their existing assets (and future plans) can work within a social media program.
Fourth step. That’s up to you. Rinse and repeat, and then adjust. You’re going to have to show potential ROI and prove ROI. I’m not saying it’s easy. It can be an uphill battle every.single.day. Continue to work with your allies and make more allies. How else will you have buy-in if you physically silo yourself from the rest of the company?
So, what are you going to do? Complain and talk about how everyone is silo’d or are you going to do something about it?