Five Reasons your organisation isn’t adopting social media

…as fast as you might like.

Many communications professionals said 2006 was going to be the year of social media. Many more are saying 2007 will be the year of social media.

From my experiences, as both a mid-level consultant at one of Canada’s leading Internet consultancies and a worm’s eye level minion in one of the world’s largets PR companies, I’ve certainly seen encouraging signs for these evangelists/zealots. Of which I am certainly one.

There were more than 100 people at the Third Tuesday event last month and the group has more than 300 members. At work, colleagues are starting to chat with the weird, crazy and generally wild eyed web 2.0 evangelists about integrating their schtick into existing client programs. More importantly though, clients and prospective clients are asking about the online landscape.

Here are my top seven reasons your social media proposals aren’t being picked up:

1. You’re forcing it. Take a step back and make sure what you’re proposing is relevant to the client and to your (agency’s) capabilities. A watched pot takes twice as long to boil.

2. You’re talking theory, not letting people experience it. People learn by doing, not hearing.

3. It’s a big sea change. Embracing social media’s honesty and transparency is a big leap for some corporations. Take small steps with small programs to get the bigger programs.

4. When you do talk social media, you talk in buzzwords; not layman’s terms. People are probably outside of their comfort zone so make it easy for them.

5. When you talk, you’re wide-eyed and frenzied about social media. Be an evangelist; not a zealot.

6. You’re talking to the wrong person. If you can’t influence your boss, influence the influencers. Plant the seed in other people as well as your boss and/or client.

7. It’s not right for the organization. Sometimes the greatest strategies or most creative tactics aren’t right for everyone.

8. People fear what they don’t understand, hate what they can’t conquer. Ask them to take 3-4 hours for you to hold a practical education session. Bill it to professional development. Or bring in some pros – Dave and I gave a pretty good deck the other day. Brandy has a great presentation as well. Call me.

9. You’re calling it social media. What’s in a name? that which we call a rose; by any other name would smell as sweet.

If you’re worrying about not being able to force feed your client/boss the social media kool-aid, don’t. Sometimes help comes in the most unexpected of forms.

And if it never happens, it’s PR; not ER. You’ll live. Or you’ll move jobs. Whatever.

4 Responses to Five Reasons your organisation isn’t adopting social media

  1. Julie R. says:

    Ed, your title lists 5 good reasons .. then you say you have 7 in your blog, then you list 9 reasons .. my dear man .. pick a number and stick with it! You missed number 10, and a key one … organizations don’t see any ROI to social media … bring an analytic, quantifiable perspective to a social media discussion and companies will listen.

  2. Ed Lee says:

    i can’t believe you’re complaining about getting 80 per cent extra free!!!

    it’s all part of my cunning plan to get people to read my stuff. nine reasons sounds a bit daunting so I build up gradually.

  3. Judy Gombita says:

    Rumour has it you got an “A” in university maths (and one year early). Go figure.


    Actually high school (16 yr old) maths. I took the exam when I was 15 and did indeed get an A. It was all downhill from there and I would never have taken it at Uni.

  4. Tom Shelley says:

    Hi Ed,

    It’s Tom from the Economist here. I’m on Project Redstripe and I thought I’d get in touch with you about the latest development.

    We’ve just opened a page that lets people suggest ideas that the Economist Group should do. Now, smart social media gurus such as yourself are exactly who we want to here from.

    I thought you might be interested in either submitting an idea, or linking to our brief which is here ( I also wrote my own personal brief for ideas – its more me ( Sample line : “Project Redstripe wants to start a new state in the U.S. of Awesome.”

    As an Economist fan I’d love it if you could spread the word and think of some cool stuff we could do.

    All the best,


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