I have read many articles on what management can learn from social media, but how about what social media managers can learn from top management?
Many of the basic management principles apply to social media because they are very similar - they are both centered around the actions of people you do not have complete control of but are able to influence.
1. It is not about what you can do but instead about what you can inspire others to do.
Management success is not measured on individual results but instead on the results of the people you influence. Still most companies have their social media managed solely by fairly low-level employees who have only recently completed their studies. While studying people are mostly measured on individual results (exams, SAT scores…) and competing with each other instead of collaborating with them. In social media results are measured based on the actions of others (such as sharing, liking or commenting), which requires influence and the ability to motivate others that many social media managers still lack.
2. Your employees are your most important asset.
Businesses are run by people who bring their time, knowledge, and experience to the company and are in turn compensated with a salary and bonuses for success. Without these people there would be no business. The same applies to social media - without users there would be no value. Social media is built around the relationships between people with the vast majority of communications taking place between individuals, not companies. Why not utilize the networks employees have created and compensate them for using their personal networks for business benefit the same way companies do with employee time, knowledge, and experience?
3. People like to feel they are getting closer to a concrete achievement.
Managers set goals and key performance indicators for their employees to be able to measure success and ROI. One of the most controversial topics in social media has been the ability to measure ROI and there still seems to be no clear answer. Social media users however have their own ROI - social influence. By taking actions in social media people are usually looking to increase their influence over others. This is often referred to as social currency where the user is hoping that they will somehow benefit from building their influence on others. Understanding this can help social media managers better position their content to boost the social influence of those who share it forward to their networks.
By applying these principles to social media practices, companies can leverage and influence internal and external stakeholders the way managers have done for decades. Having someone with management experience run the social media initiatives in an organization might indeed be something worth considering, since it all comes down to influencing and inspiring others.