Social Media PM: Managing It Is the Key

Social Media PM:  Managing It Is the Key
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Many people cringe at the thought of social media.  After all, for all the goodness of connecting people and providing and open platform for sharing and expression, it also can be a tremendous time waster!  It can be the same on a project! I think it’s a matter of attitude and approach as it is of tool mastery. On a project, it’s partially about having the right tools and having team members master those tools.  But it’s also about placing an emphasis on communication – and not getting overly enamored or absorbed with spending too much time on the tools. Use the tools if they are useful for what you are trying to accomplish – only!

This is the second of a series of four articles on the subject of Social Media Project Management (PM), where we explore the variety of aspects of social media and their impact and utility on project management.  This article, Part 2 in the series, “Managing Social Media Is the Key,” looks at both the upside and downside of social media, and how project managers need to manage it for optimum benefit. Part 1, “It’s All About Collaboration”, looks at the core component of social media – collaboration – and how collaboration, enhanced by social media, is enabling new possibilities for PM.  Part 3, “Effective Social Media Tools,” considers the variety of social media tools and assesses which can be most useful on projects. Finally, Part 4, “Leverage Knowledge from Social Media”, dives into the abundance of knowledge that we can gain by the exposure to knowledge and insights that social media generates.  

Here are five focus areas for managing social media in your project organization:

  1. Distractions – You can see it with personal use of social media; social media can be distracting!  And bringing those distractions from personal use of social media into the workplace can really have a drag on productivity.  Being aware, making employees aware, and maintaining a focus on work are effective ways to keep use of personal social media in the work place.
  2. Interruptions – Even when social media used for business purposes can provide unwanted and inefficient interruptions.  Discuss this with employees. Make sure team members are aware that they don’t all need notifications and that if appropriate they can turn them off.  Set rules for responsiveness – that immediate responses are good in certain circumstances, but that most of the time it is unnecessary.  
  3. Lack of Relevance – I’ve occasionally seen posts that are just not going to be helpful to anyone, and are really just taking up space.  Make sure someone is monitoring streams of posts – blog, wiki, issues, surveys – for relevance and that everyone understands the intent and limits of the content.
  4. Wrong Tool – The key is to have agreement among users as to which tool to use for what.  It is most important that people across the team use the same tool for the same things, or otherwise there will be pools of related but disconnected content in more than one area!  From the outset, limit the number of tools you use; less is more. Then the first defense is group understanding. Finally, make sure someone is monitoring each area.  
  5. Need for Training – Sometimes you assume that people know about each social media technology and just know what to use it for – but that’s not always true.  Assess the need through discussions with the team, and provide some appropriate training that educates users about the use of each tool.

The most important thing is to remember that social media on your projects will not just run itself.  Take the time to put good systems in place, and your social media will be fairly self managing.

Has your project team taken the time to put the systems in place to manage your social media PM?

This Post is Part of the Series: Social Media PM

This series of four articles on Social Media Project Management (PM), explains how we explore the variety of aspects of social media and their impact and utility on project management. 

  1. It’s All About Collaboration
  2. Managing It is the Key
  3. Effective Social Media Tools
  4. Leverage Knowledge From Social Media