by Geoff Livingston
Many organizations make the mistake of thinking they can go 0-60 miles per hour with two-way communities. In doing so, they start out on a path to quick failure, almost like going to jail in Monopoly (image by HarshLight).
Before when can succeed with major initiatives online, it’s important to check back and make sure all of the pieces are there to enable success. As Ike Pigott said, social media is organic. That means understanding that to engage in a major strategy, you need to have pieces in place. Here’s a few thoughts on what that may include:
Do you have existing channels in the major networks? That includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr. In addition, Delicious, Foursquare, Gowalla, MySpace, Buzz and others may factor into your equation as well as subject matter specific networks and community sites. These should actually be functional with real dialogue occurring in the them, not just cold sites. Increasingly, most organizations have at least some, if not all of the majors.
Are you dialoguing with influencers? That is before you actually launch? Having at least a handful of relationships with major influencers in your online communities of interest can make a big difference in your initiative. Besides, influencers enjoy their “sway” in part because they are privy to information first. Help them.
Got a place to call home? Seriously, most initiatives will fail unless there’s a place to go to interact and engage on a deeper level. Most social networks serve as beachheads for more significant conversation (see Manny Hernandez’ comments in tip 5 on a recent Mashable post). With a place to engage your more compelled stakeholders, you can get down to serious business, like crowdsourcing, activism, or gasp, real sales!
What kind of measurement and monitoring tools are in place? I am always amazed to find the incredible common lacking in organizational measurement tools. It’s really hard to launch an initiative without being able to measure whether it’s going to work well or not, and how to optimize the effort once it’s launched. Further, you want to see if the community embraces the initiative, and if they are changing it into a larger grassroots movement (good or bad).
Of course, this is a simplistic description of necessary pieces. Each community will have unique requirements. But point being, without these tools in place, it would be hard to create a strategy and start an initiative.