Advocates, mentors, champions. Creating a pull in your employees drives success for the business.

Phil leads our Social Media Governance service

Implementing a social collaboration platform may be one of the biggest changes that a company undertakes since email was first introduced. There are so many angles that need to be addressed but one which is often debated is adoption - how do we get our employees actually using this new platform? I would argue against the need to change the culture of the organisation. Culture is a very difficult thing to change, it would be very expensive and chances are that it's going to fail in the end anyway. So, how can you drive adoption and make the platform a success within your organisation?


If you can identify people in your organisation who understand the benefits of social you can use them to help spread the message and drive adoption to the platform. A group of advocates is, in my opinion, key to successful adoption of a platform. You have some options open to you as to whether you will identify the advocates yourself or let them come forward themselves. I support the latter - the more keen beans you have shouting about social throughout the organisation the better when it comes to adoption. Why not create a group, give them the tools that they need (facts, quotes, success stories, ready-made presentations) and let them discuss their role in the group?


A colleague of mine often refers to the ’senior’, ‘mature’ or ‘gray-haired- variety’ of people in the organisation who, broadly speaking, may not quite understand what this whole social thing is. But, unless they’ve been sitting under a rock for that past few years, they will know that young people and perhaps their own children are seemingly addicted to social media. This represents a great opportunity for some reverse-mentoring. In this occasion it may be best to identify some particularly good (and patient!) advocates who are able to articulate the benefits of social. Then, coach these advocates on how to coach the more senior people in the organisation. A weekly half hour where the advocate can reverse mentor on how to get the most out of social media can be an extremely effective method for targeting the more senior staff. What’s more, those that resist social who then get told about the benefits by their own boss are far more likely to sit up and listen.