You aren’t alone if you’re trying to figure out where to begin when it comes to doing more — or doing at least something — in social media in your organization. At a recent Social Media Club meet up in Boston, the group surfaced some great tips for getting started. Here are some of the groups ideas for taking the plunge or expanding what you’ve started:

  1. Embrace experimentation as a way of life.
    By it’s very nature, social media is participation-driven and enabled by technology — which means it’s always changing and the variables are pretty much infinite. “Your executives have to understand the need to take action. They have to be willing to try things and see what sticks.”
  2. Start small. Think evolution, not revolution.
    You might even be “doing social media” already. Next time you’ve got big news, something as simple as creating a companion podcast/video interview makes your news more engaging and shareable. As a number of PR folks in the room advised, just post it to YouTube, on your website and share the links via email to customers, prospects and bloggers who follow your industry. You’ll see that it doesn’t hurt and nobody dies. So make it a series. See what kind of downloading action you get, and ask for feedback wherever you post it.
  3. Monitor what’s going on (and make new insights easy to appreciate)
  4. Start inside. Lots of companies launch blogs internally first, often within the corporate intranet. It’s a safe place to surface those with the natural talent and inclination to sustain blog posting. It’s also a great way to get employees used to a new style of communicating.
  5. Have trust in your people (or get some people you can trust)
    The new realities of social media — always on, everyone has a voice, sharing is paramount — bring with it much less control, more immediacy and unpredictability. Which means you and your boss and your team mates have to trust each other to use their best judgment; micro-managing is not an option. If you don’t have that kind of trust, consider making a change. In your team or your choice of employer.
  6. Involve the legal team at the beginning (especially if you’re a public company) It sounds counter-intuitive but the best thing you can do is proactively engage your legal folks. Much better than having them send up red flags when you’re about to launch something. Offer a social media 101 session, show the impact of social media on the business, how other companies are navigating these new waters, and encourage their collaboration on ways to overcome any concerns they may have.
  7. Evangelize, and train everyone
    If you’re the social media champion, unleash your beliefs and savvy on as many groups across the company as you can. Go to corporate communications and help them see how to shift from message control to two way conversations, create a social media 101 workshop or e-learning event and resources, and work with HR or whomever to get it shared throughout the company.

The take away? Get started. Learn small. Built internal expertise.

Scott