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Social Media Crisis Management?

There has been numerous advances in management practices and methods over the last twenty years.  While there has been progress the introduction and influence of social media was never an anticipated management skill required to survive.

I’ve spent over 25 years providing management consulting services to a host of global firms.  During that time I’ve witnesses several factors that are the major  constraints for organizational improvement. These constraints are the impediments to improving productivity, market relations and overall performance. Now comes social media which is and will continue to accelerate the constraints which are:

1) Resistance to Change
2) Personal Insecurities
3) Control and Command Mentality
4) Lacking in Profound Knowledge
5) Lacking in Listening Skills
6) Hiring Interns to Manage New Media
7) No Belief in New Methods or New Media
8) Lacking in Leadership Skills
9) We don’t have time to learn…….
10) New Media Doesn’t Apply to Us

All of these are human factors that boil down to a lack of security, education, knowledge and leadership. It is ironic that companies will hire consultants to bring in new perspectives, new knowledge and methods but in the end many companies fail to make necessary changes. Unless management is truly committed to change all efforts will fail.

Social media represents a velocity of change that requires new knowledge to be applied to internal and external dynamics which are revolutionizing how markets operate. This means for business to survive it must revolutionize how it operates.

Is Social Media a Management Crisis?

Jeremiah Owyang writes: In case you haven’t been watching, Nestle’s Facebook Fan page has been overrun by critics around deforestation, sustainability and poor social media relations.

Brands are Unprepared for Organized Social Attacks

  1. While every company has critics, they can now organize a coordinated attack.
  2. Facebook fan page brand-jacking is the new form of tree hugging.
  3. Ownership isn’t clear –yet the power belongs to community

Recommendations: Develop a Community Strategy and Practice Crises Response

  1. Companies must have a community strategy –don’t jump without a parachute.
  2. Hire seasoned community managers –don’t relegate to PR intern.
  3. Plan and practice for the worse –yet live for the best.

Jeremiah’s recommendations are well thought out but the crisis at hand is larger than organizing for social attacks or practicing crisis response.  Fundamentally the crisis at hand is a knowledge crisis. What most managers know about managing is based on old knowledge that has changed. What management doesn’t know is the emergence of new knowledge enabled by informational exchanges at velocities never before imagined. The exchange of information, and subsequent knowledge of things and people, is now at the click of a mouse, less than a second.

The empowerment people get from social media is akin to dropping a match into a pool of gasoline, kaboom! As soon as you marshal the resources to put out the fire another one starts. Managing by distinguishing fires is not managing.

To prevent the fires from ever starting you have to address the lack of knowledge which enabled the fires to get started. Crisis management deals with fires. The application of new knowledge prevents fires from starting. Change or go up in flames!

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