Niccolo Machiavelli is probably most well known for The Prince, but I wonder what advice he might have for organizations in the era of social media. Maybe it would look something like this ...
People and Tactics
- Make sure you have the right people running your social media efforts;
- Give those people robust rules of engagement;
- If you can't afford to actively manage the presence, at the very least defend your name against squatters;
- Deal with dissenters quickly;
- Whenever possible build your organization's own capacity, prior to borrowing resources from others or hiring outside talent;
- Study the successes and failures of others; and
- Be diligent during quiet periods so you are ready when/if the shit hits the fan.
- Number of followers/friends/subscribers is less important than loyalty;
- Loyalty is strongest when it is earned over time; and
- Underdogs who fight the status quo have a hard time moving up but enjoy greater respect if/when they are successful.
- Using social media to address organizational change is one of the most difficult things to do because people are naturally resistant to change;
- Those who benefited most under the old system will be your biggest resistors to change; and
- It is impossible for anyone to live up to everybody's expectations; disappointment is inevitable, so the mission must be compelling enough to rally supporters when they are wavering.
- It won't always be good news. While you should avoid things that contribute to a negative reputation, ultimately you should pursue whatever is most beneficial given the circumstances of the day; but
- Don't break your word unnecessarily. It will cost you.
- Sharing is great but be cognizant not to overwhelm your stakeholders with your message; and
- It is desirable to be both true to the organization's mission and be popular in the space; the former is more important than the latter.
- Pursue organizational goals by engaging and you will earn respect, sit on the fence and you will lose it.
Avoid Ego Tripping
- Don't only discuss your organization's efforts with yes-men, have a core group of trusted advisers who will always give it to you straight.
- Luck is at most half the battle, every other inch requires effort, follow-through, and a relentless drive to be the best.
I particularly like the last one, you?
[h/t to Chelsea and Mary Beth for inspiring this post]
[image credit: anonymous9000]