In most of the visits I do with companies on social, the big question I get asked is what is the benefit of becoming a social business?
All of these benefits are possible, but unlikely until the organization learns how to embrace change at the top. That starts the ball rolling. Why? In most companies, the money and support for large-scale change is controlled by the C-Suite. This is a culture change, not just a technology change, and as such still requires buy-in from organizational leaders.
Some firms find a way to grow social presence organically and can make the business case to management by presenting results from an existing program. This is the exception.
Even when this does happen, the direction to change strategy and tactics for an organization still comes from the top and flows down through the organization. Since many firms out there still use a command and control management style, it takes buy-in from senior management to lead a sweeping change through the many departments and programs that social business effects.
Trying to change a large organization from the middle most often leads to a failed change. That failure leads to the popular slogan of change resistors “we tried that once and it didn’t work.”
Executive buy-in is only the beginning though. Cultural change is required of the firm's people. It can be argued that senior leadership's decision to adopt social business is itself a culture change; however the middle managers and their staff also have significant changes to make - both personal and professional.
While I agree with the substance of what Sandy Carter says, being aware of the size of the job is important for an organization to make sound decisions. Start small and begin the planning for further expansion after your approach is validated.