Dancing Dads vs Trojan Mice

(Aka a comment on corporate social media strategy.)

I’ve been working my way through some Do Lectures – a sort of British version of TED talks but given on Welsh farm – and just enjoyed Euan Semple’s talk on Why social network mess can benefit your business. Here it is – it’s about a 25-minute talk.

As I blog and web edit for a large corporate more than half of each week, I was interested to hear Euan Semple’s take on the barriers to engagement and also how to help organisations approach social media.

Basically, he uses strategic storytelling (see Prof Jay Conger’s short video on this) to come up with a couple of great analogies about Dancing dads and Trojan mice.

To paraphrase rather than transcribe:

Corporations are having social media done to them, employees are being told to take up Twitter, lots of CEOs are being told they have to blog. But this is like watching your dad dance at a disco: you’re proud of them for having a go but really wish they wouldn’t do it. Time for a visual… (Apologies to whoever’s Dad this is.)

More fun from Kyle and Dad

The alternative to that is employing the Trojan Mice principle – do little, inexpensive, unobtrusive things that you don’t need a lot of permission or budget for but once you set running they begin to find a life of their own. Keep it worthwhile and you achieve growth (engagement) by advocacy rather than diktat.

Mice in a Mug

I’ve been sort of employing this tactic after a talk at SXSW Interactive in 2009 put it another way – be like a small SWAT team, do things under the radar then build on their successes as a way to deal with large organisations’ inevitable inertia. The result is that a couple of the ideas I’ve suggested on the corporate blog have got some traction and seen take-up from other areas of the business. Here I am on a Segway.

Swategway

Sort of.

I guess 2011 is about finding more of that overlap to encourage the companies I work for to take up the social media / blogging call for themselves.

As for money and ROI, Euan talks about how IT departments are often Business Prevention Units that ‘have been fleecing corporations for years’, before finishing on the Scotman’s tip for ROI – keep the i small and no one will give a s^*t about the R.

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Original photo by 24 Oranges NL on Flickr

Right, that’s my strategy sorted then.