- Either things are going great, so they say, “Let’s do more of that!” or…
- Things are not going great at all, in which case the natural response is to say, “We have to fix this now! Who do we call?”
As you might imagine, I get a lot of calls from companies living the second scenario. But here’s the thing: a quick fix is entirely the wrong tack to take.
Imagine two big, beautiful daisies. One is in a vase, the other in a pot. Today, they look identical – they’re both beautiful! But you already know where I’m going with this: one is going to wilt in just a few days, and there’s nothing you can do to stop that. With the right care, the other individual flower may die, but that plant will grow bigger and produce more and more gorgeous flowers over time. (I stink with house plants, but even I get this one.)
The difference is in the roots, and that’s the difference in any strategy your business takes, too – especially in the Age of Social. Bringing this analogy to your organization, the roots are your culture. Your leadership sets and tends that culture – just like a gardener, who plants the daisy and then waters, fertilizes… you get the analogy, I’m sure.
The difference is in the roots, and that’s the difference in any strategy your business takes
When your company is thriving in the social arena, that’s because your leadership is steering your culture in the right direction. When your brand takes a very public beating via social? Your leadership is not caring well for your culture.
The problem is, many of today’s leaders (who cut their teeth in the Industrial Age, with its antiquated, culture-killing rules of command and control) think that culture is one of those cheesy pictures you hang on the wall, which employees the world over snicker at when the bosses aren’t around.
Yes, Forbes was kind enough to dub me a top 10 social media “Power” influencer. Yes, the book Mark Babbitt and I are co-writing is titled A World Gone Social. Yes, I guess I’d be smarter just to shut my mouth and let leaders keep thinking that social media crises are social media problems, and not the leadership problems they actually are. But our 4-year intensive research for this book has us convinced that social only plays a bit part, at best, in the story behind the story – in why some companies do well in the public eye, and why their competitors keep getting black eyes now that everyone is connected and talking online.
When your company is thriving in the social arena, that’s because your leadership is steering your culture in the right direction.
You can put out fires as they crop up, buy off or sue detractors, out-shout them, or crawl into your shell and give up on social altogether. Over the past four years I’ve seen all of this, and, yes – incredibly – it’s still going on as you read this post.
But if you want to embrace the now and the future? If you want to build your business for the long haul, beyond just this month or this quarter? Take these two essential steps.
- Build a culture that is so engaging to your employees that they love it, that they’ll never want to leave, they’ll choose to bring you their most talented friends, and they’ll give you their creative energy nights, weekends, and holidays – all because they want to, not because you bribe them to or scare them into it. Build a culture where a large segment of your employees are active, eager evangelists for your brand on every social channel there is.
- Build this engaging culture into one that is so purposefully customer-centric that your customers turn from passive wallets into active ambassadors for your brand, dragging their friends and even complete strangers into your open arms. Where they used to tell two friends how great you are, now your customers can tell 2,000 friends with the click of a mouse.*
Build a culture where a large segment of your employees are active, eager evangelists for your brand
Today and tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at a gathering of about 1,000 Fortune 500 board members about social media and their strategy, to give them some important questions to ask their CEOs. Both days I’ll focus on just one chapter of A World Gone Social: today, employee engagement and tomorrow, building a winning customer experience. And, I’m really excited to say, our own Leaguer Jamie Notter will be speaking as well, focusing on how social media and culture intersect. It’s going to be a great couple of days.
When I return, I’ll share both of my presentations with our email subscribers. If you aren’t signed up for that yet, you can sign up here.
Customers turn from passive wallets into active ambassadors for your brand, dragging their friends and even complete strangers into your open arms.
Meanwhile, let me leave you with this question – and please, I hope you give it the thought your company deserves: How is your brand doing on social today? Much more importantly, how well are you tending to the roots of your business?
*Moreover, where your detractors used to gripe about you to ten friends, now they can tell 10,000 just as easily in this Age of Social. My advice? Treat people right.
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