Beyond the Tools: Building a Culture for Social Media Success

by | Oct 12, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Have you ever wondered how organisational culture plays a part in social media success? Do you believe that embracing cultural shifts and mindset changes can influence a company’s social media activities and outcomes? 

In October 2023 Mark Vincent, owner of Applied Change, joined me for a conversation on this topic. Mark has over 25 years of experience delivering change management projects and consultancy. 

This session is part of a LinkedIn Live series diving into the topics of my new book, “Planning for Success: A Practical Guide to Setting and Achieving Your Social Media Marketing Goals.”


Watch the recording on YouTube:

Through the research for the book, a recurring theme emerged — the requirement for a cultural shift to support the effective use of social media. Within the qualitative interviews and my day-to-day interactions with social media managers, the idea of involving a broader spectrum of individuals within an organisation to create content and build networks became increasingly apparent. This often goes beyond the boundaries of marketing and communications, demanding more internal engagement, addressing organisational culture issues and mindset change.

The Complexity of Organisational Culture

Within organisations, the term “culture” is regularly used, but frequently misunderstood. Culture isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a complex amalgamation of habits, behaviours, and shared values. Culture is our everyday lives, the ‘how we do things around here’.

In both personal lives and businesses, habits shape our actions unconsciously, such as brushing our teeth or driving a car. Similarly, organisations develop habits and behaviours over time, forming their culture. These habits, whether positive or negative, accumulate at different scales within groups and organisations. If left unguided, cultures can deteriorate due to inappropriate or outdated behaviours.

Culture, like personal habits, needs active design and cultivation to serve the organisation positively.

Initiating and Sustaining Conversations for Organisational Change

In the context of organisational change, identifying cultural patterns becomes pivotal. Then, the ability to break patterns is akin to breaking a personal habit. This pattern break is essential, compelling organisations to evaluate their existing culture. Marketers and business leaders alike must initiate these conversations however difficult they may seem. 

Microsoft is a great example of organisational culture change. Their vision extended beyond software and inspired a broader societal impact. There have been many notable cultural changes over the years, such as the adoption of open-source technology and a more collaborative and inclusive work environment. However, these conversations are not mere one-time events; they are ongoing dialogues. Organisations, especially marketers, must consistently engage in these internal conversations, addressing any inherent friction. The challenge lies not only in initiating these conversations but also in sustaining them, ensuring that the organisation’s culture aligns seamlessly with its goals.

Culture: Quick Wins vs Long-Term Organisational Change

Organisational change is a complex process, often requiring significant time and effort. However, quick wins are possible, even from a single meeting. The key lies in planning, breaking down large goals into manageable tasks, and encouraging a culture of inspiration and collaboration.

  • Shrinking the Change

Breaking down large, overwhelming goals into smaller, manageable tasks is so important. There is power in focusing on small teams and showcasing new ways of working. By demonstrating progress in bite-sized projects, curiosity and enthusiasm spread organically, allowing for change.

  • Reinforcing the Why

Continuous reinforcement of the ‘why’ behind the change is essential. Therefore, emphasising the importance of the transformation, and ensuring everyone understands the significance is key. This reinforcement should be constant, moving beyond occasional all-hands meetings to become a daily focus, aligning teams with a shared purpose.

  • Overcoming Friction

Identifying and addressing sources of friction is also important. Time constraints often impede change efforts. To counter this, organisations must allocate time for tasks, encouraging employees to prioritise and focus. Simplifying processes and freeing up time by redistributing tasks can significantly reduce friction, enabling smoother transitions.

  • Inspiring Change Through Energy

Energising employees is pivotal to successful change management. Instead of bland presentations that could lose the attention of staff members, leaders of the organisation can inspire others by painting a vision of the future. Microsoft’s focus on solving real-world problems through technology illustrates the importance of connecting change initiatives to meaningful outcomes. By emphasising the ‘why now’ and igniting a collective aspiration, organisations can align their teams toward common goals.

  • Managing Tasks and Time Effectively

Breaking tasks into smaller, achievable components is crucial. This approach allows individuals to focus on specific elements rather than feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, allocating specific time slots for tasks and acknowledging the natural rhythm of productivity, including moments of procrastination, can enhance overall efficiency.

How is the World Around Us Impacting Culture Change?

Change is constant, not just within organisations but also in the broader context of the world. Factors like the global pandemic, technological advancements, and geopolitical events impact how we live, work, and think. Adapting to these external changes is vital for an organization’s survival. When external changes outpace internal adaptations, organisations face risks. Embracing emerging technologies like AI, robotics, and biotech is essential. Organisations must focus on adaptability, recognising that culture plays a pivotal role in shaping responses to change.

Essentially, culture acts as a significant catalyst for change. An adaptable culture ensures an organisation’s longevity. To drive change effectively, organisations need a unified vision. A shared purpose aligns individuals and teams, promoting collaboration. Cultivating a culture where everyone works towards the same goals is key. Initiating change within smaller teams can serve as a starting point, allowing progress to grow organically.

How Organisational Culture Can Lead to Social Media Success

Building a strong organisational culture can be linked to social media success. A positive and adaptable culture fosters open communication, collaboration, and innovation within teams.

When employees are motivated, engaged, and aligned with the organisation’s mission and values, they become brand ambassadors both within and outside the company. This internal cohesion translates into authentic, compelling narratives on social media platforms. Authenticity resonates with audiences, building trust and credibility for the brand. Moreover, a supportive culture encourages creativity and risk-taking – essential elements for crafting engaging social media content. 

When employees feel valued and empowered, they are more likely to contribute ideas and share content, expanding the brand’s reach and impact on social media channels. 

Therefore, investing in maintaining a positive organisational culture not only strengthens the internal fabric of the company but also fuels the creativity and authenticity that drive social media success.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Organisational culture extends beyond buzzwords, comprising ingrained habits, behaviours, and shared values within an organisation. Active cultivation is essential to shape a positive culture aligned with the organisation’s identity and objectives.
  2. Recognising cultural patterns and breaking habits are vital steps toward initiating change. Facilitating challenging conversations within the organisation is essential for evaluating and transforming existing cultural norms.
  3. Achievable quick wins stem from strategic planning, breaking down goals, and fostering an atmosphere of inspiration and collaboration. Examples from organisations like Microsoft highlight the significance of aligning change efforts with meaningful outcomes while consistently reinforcing the ‘why’ behind the transformation.
  4. Adapting to external changes, including global events and technological advancements is so important for an organisation’s survival. Culture acts as a catalyst, fostering a shared vision within teams and providing the foundation to navigate change effectively.
  5. A strong organisational culture fosters internal cohesion, empowering employees to become authentic brand ambassadors on social media, driving engagement, trust, and creativity, potentially leading to social media success.


Recommended Reading

  • Margaret Heffernan: Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer and keynote speaker. Explore Heffernan’s works, which offer insights into the interplay between culture and strategy.
  • Dan Gilbert‘s TED Talks: Dan Gilbert’s talks dive into behavioural psychology, providing valuable perspectives on human decision-making and perception.
  • Rory Sutherland: Rory Sutherland shares his thoughts on perception and innovative solutions, challenging conventional approaches.
  • Harvard Business Review: Does your company’s culture reinforce its strategy and purpose?
  • Marcus Collins: For the Culture: The Power Behind the World’s Most Successful Brands, from Apple to Beyoncé

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