When I talk to clients about social media, I try and lay out a basic path through the process for them. Over time, it’s developed into what I’m calling “The Five Decisions.”
1. Decide that you want to do this.
2. Decide what you’re really capable of.
3. Decide what you’ll have to change to make it work.
4. Decide on the tools and processes to do it.
5. Decide how you’ll know whether it’s working.
Here’s how it works.
You see someone climbing El Capitan (you read about a company that improves productivity, customer relations, or sales using social media). You decide “I’ve gotta do that…”
But you’ve never climbed anything in your life, you’re afraid of heights, and the most exercise you’ve gotten in the last year is Wii Boxing every Friday night (your company has strict control over internal and external communications, you have limited technical capabilities, there is no budget or resource availability to manage a massive business transformation).
So you need to get some time on the climbing wall in the gym, practice standing close to the edge of the window wall and controlling your breathing, and run a mile a day to start (you have to identify some test areas where you can try social media on a limited but self-justifying basis, explore adding technical capabilities or using software-as-a-service, and create a roadmap from limited social media test cases to wider deployments).
Now you know enough to decide that you need climbing shoes, a harness, and a small rack of carabiners (you can develop a technical roadmap and set of programs to implement it, select the tools that you’ll use in doing that, and develop training and materials to bring new communications models to key members of the team).
Once you have some basic capabilities, you can track your progress from climbing 5.2 through 5.14 and Class I through Class V, and so monitor your progress and readiness to get onto the cliffs of Yosemite (once you create some metrics and can apply them against the business and technical roadmap, you can tell whether you are advancing in the right direction).
Photo : “Nick jumars up to pitch 29” by Flickr user BrianZ, used under Creative Commons license.