A social media lead’s focus should be inside the company

I work as a social media lead for a competitive team focused on Oracle inside of IBM.  I maintain a site called SmarterQuestions.org.  Part of my role is to manage the SmarterQuestions presence on social media sites (primarily Facebook and Twitter) and I also organize our advertising activity on 3rd party sites like TechTarget.  However, I consider the most important part of my job developing IBM’s subject matter experts’ (SMEs) comfort with the social web.

Social media connects an interested reader to the relevant IBMer

Social media is a powerful tool because it can directly connect two (or more) people with similar interests.  If the database admin at State Farm is having a tricky problem or is interested in reading about the latest and greatest in database design, he isn’t interested in talking to me, the social media lead.  Instead, he’s wants to connect with the smart people inside of IBM who are working with database customers day in and day out (like our very own SME, Nancy Kopp-Hensley).

Social media leads focus on the internal experts

My role is helping these SMEs get onto the social web so they can be found by people like the DBA at State Farm.  I have a pretty standard toolbox I want a SME to be comfortable with – blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter much to me how a SME wants to be active or where.  Each person is unique and will find certain tools to be more valuable than others.  I want to make sure that the SME ges the most out of whatever tool they decide to use.

What a social meda lead does to guide the SME

Blogging: In general, I get a SME interested by helping them write a blog post for SmarterQuestions.org.  Because SmarterQuestions already has a social media presence, the blog post can get some readership right out of the gate, and most likely more readers than if the SME started their own blog and put the post up there.

Promotion: I show the SME how we promote the post to people who are interested in the topic area (which highlights the important of relevancy).  It also familiarizes the SME with Twitter, Facebook and advertising on 3rd party sites like TechTarget.

Analytics and readership: I followup with the SME to let them know if anyone comments on the post and share analytics data about how many people have read or shared the post.

Follow up: After this, the SME should have enough familiarity with the key tools to decide where and when to spend her social media energy.  At this point, I aim to become a background tool that can answer pertinent questions as they pop up, in a very ad hoc and one-on-one manner.

It is clearly in an organization’s interest to have its SMEs active in social media and letting the world know smart people work for the organization.  I also think there is a very real benefit to the SME as well and will discuss that in my next post.

Posted in IBM

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