How Open Should You Be in Social Media?
One of the challenges facing businesses today is deciding how open to be in online communities.
Well, here's some good news: Openness in social media can vary. Businesses can start slow in online communities, hold back a bit and open up over time—the way people do in human relationships. (And think about it: Isn't that what clients really want from you, anyway?)
Here's some help: To provide a useful starting point for measuring where you are vs. where you want to be in social media, the Community Roundtable has put together The Community Maturity Model. The four-stage chart helps you pinpoint where your company is in terms of network openness.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when using the model:
- You can't go from Stage 1 to Stage 4 overnight, and users aren't expecting you to. It's enough to be clear about what you are, and aren't, comfortable doing.
- The degree to which you're open should reflect the degree to which your company culture is already open. Otherwise, it'll be tough rounding up the troops to champion community collaboration outside the enterprise.
- The model also shows you how to integrate collaboration inside your company. Try it out.
Bottom line: It pays to be strategic about your progression toward a more network-oriented corporate culture. It's best to do it in steps, so your online social-community efforts will stick—and feel genuine.
The Po!nt: Size up before you open up. Be realistic about where your company is in terms of community openness versus where it wants to be. That's the first step toward building a healthy level of transparency in social media.
Looking for great social media marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Social Media Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 140 pages and 102 charts, it is full of relevant social media marketing stats and trends. The Social Media Marketing Factbook is Part 5 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).