This morning, I was doing my usual scan of emails and noticed I had received a recognition Klout “K” for social media. With a smile, I popped over to my Klout profile to find that I had dropped from a rating of 60 to 43 overnight. I immediately thought it must be a bug and if it was not, I will practice what I preach and would just continue to work with my communities building relationships. As the day went on, I realized many were quite infuriated by what seemed to be yet another change and drop in their Klout rating. By the end of the day, the ratings had been fixed however by then I had witnessed a slew of blogs sharing they have deleted their accounts and yet again Klout seems to be under-fire. So why am I sharing all this?
As you know I am passionate about Social Media. It is an exciting time and it seems to be continuously innovating. It is food for the creative. However, with continuous innovation, comes continuous change. So how do you manage change in this arena? Klout shared last month they had improved and aligned to the global changes. However, as a change agent, I wonder about their change management plan. All businesses aspire for their product to go viral in this space, however the dark-side of social media is that if you do not manage your change and/or mistakes – you will experience viral alright but not the type you intended which is what Klout is currently experiencing. Social media can be unforgiving if it is not handled correctly or at least appropriately. Quite frankly the principles of managing change within social media should still hold true. So I am going to share a few tips as I bridge from my change management profession with my social media profession. I will focus on tips for managing your audience/customers.
Change Management Preparation in the Social Media Space.
Before the implementation of a change consider the following as it relates to your audience:
- Key Impacts: Identify the potential key impacts to your audience in the social media space. By doing this exercise it will highlight what you would require in your plan to mitigate risk.
- The Benefit: Develop the value proposition for the change. This is key- articulating the benefits on a number of levels ie the audience, the evolving social media environment and partners it will help explain the need for the the change and how it will benefit the key stakeholders.
- Communication Plan: Develop the communication plan and associated blog posts. This is critical. The impact analysis above should give you an idea of some of the concerns and questions that the audience may have and will help you prepare the appropriate communication and blogs to address them.
- Implementation strategy: Your implementation strategy will be dependent on the potential impact your change may have. Questions you need to answer would include, should you have a phased implementation? Or a Pilot? Or a Full Rollout.
- Key Social Media Influencers: Identify your key influencers to provide early feedback and ideally be involved in the implementation, Key Influencers can be a key assets and critical for your success. You may want to go one step further and consider a focus group to get actual data prior to the implementation.
- Audience Involvement. Identify how you can involve the audience during the implementation. My mantra has always been “ People implement what they feel they have been involved in”. If at all feasible, if you can involve your audience, it often has a positive effect on the implementation.
- Potential Ambassadors. Identify supporting key influencers who would blog on the change and in essence act as ambassadors of the change.
Change Management Implementation in the Social Media Space:
It is all about communication and taking your audience along with you! Consider the following;
- Promotion: This is the time to promote the benefits and the rationale for the change. Do this using different formats to capture all the different thinking styles. Blogs, Videos, Articles, Contests.
- Communication: You cannot communicate enough! Own it. Be comprehensive. Be proactive. You should communicate:Feedback: Listen and seek feedback. Own this. Provide forums to conduct feedback and to get a pulse of the sentiment of your audience. If you can address any negative sentiments in a forum you control that is the best you can hope for in that situation. If the sentiment is positive, promote it!
- How you are implementing the change;
- The progress;
- The Successes;
- The Mistakes and how you are addressing them.
- Measure value: I know you know that measures are very important however do not forget to measure the benefits that were stated as part of the rationale for the change in the first place. Are you getting the benefits you had anticipated?
- Transparency: So key! Especially in the social media environment. Be transparent and add context whenever and wherever you have the opportunity.
These are quick tips to consider as you think about rolling out your own change within the social media environment.
Your turn, my friends. What do you think? Do you agree with the tips above? Disagree?
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Photo by CarbonNYC
Cartoon used by permission of Cartoonist