Afraid of Social Media? Excuse 4: Corporate Red Tape

In part four of a series on why companies are slow to embrace social media, corporate red tape and multiple layers of bureaucracy is often the culprit that literally ties the hands of marketers. I have seen this occur time and time again with regards to search marketing projects. It is no surprise then that it would occur equally as much if not more when social media marketing is brought up.

When every decision a company makes has to go through decision maker after decision make or even worse, lawyer after lawyer, it’s no wonder why some are slow to get involved in social media.

I recall a Fortune 500 company we worked with quite a few years ago. They engaged our services to help them increase visibility in the organic search results for a select number of keyword phrases.

We hit a major snag at the very beginning of the campaign. They expected us to help them improve search engine visibility with SEO techniques and yet we were not able to touch their existing web site. Huh? That’s right – we could not touch their existing web site because of all the red tape and bureaucracy the company had built in to any thing with regards to web site modifications. Instead they gave us permission to develop content pages that they would then host.

Today I would decline such a preposterous notion but back then I assumed we’d be able to convince them later to allow us to improve the existing site with SEO and usability strategy. Unfortunately that never turned out to be the case and after a year of running reports for them and regurgitating advice they never adhered to, they moved on to another company.

I see the same scenario keeping current clients from embracing social media.

I would say to this excuse to at least secure branding on social media spaces. That essentially means to visit the popular social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and others and set up a profile in which you then have your own unique URL (i.e. myspace.com/yourbrand). In this manner someone else cannot beat you to it (if they have not done so already) and once you get through the piles and piles of red tape, the profiles are there for you to use.

What happens if someone else has already secured your brand name in a social media profile, whether they are actively using it or simply sitting on it? Before pursuing legal action against the individual or company that swiped your brand, you may contact the social media property first. I have seen situations such as this where the social media property turned over the “profile” to the appropriate company. However the best defense is a good offense.

That is why it is so important to make sure you have your brands registered at social media sites before someone else beats you to it.

The next post in this series will look at the fifth and final excuse I come across from clients who are afraid to embrace social media and that is their unwillingness to establish a corporate blog.

David Wallace

David Wallace, co-founder and CEO of SearchRank, is a recognized expert in the industry of search and social media marketing. Since 1997, David has been involved in developing successful search engine and social media marketing campaigns for large and small businesses. Follow +David Wallace on Google + as well as Twitter.

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