Last week, we talked about social media use at work.

I wrote it about first for my weekly column in Crain’s, the Chicago business journal because so many of the audience members when I speak are now shifting and asking, “How do I get my employees to use social media for work?”

There wasn’t much direct conversation on the article, but I had a few private emails from readers.

The conversation that ensued in the comments here were just as vocal, but different from the emails I received.

You see, most people who read Spin Sucks are PR and marketing professionals. And, most of the Crain’s readers are entrepreneurs or business leaders.

What I discovered is there is a gigantic gap between the two audiences.

While the recommendations I provided last week will work if you’re embarking on social media, they won’t work if you have a culture problem to support the added communication channels.

Most of you said last week, “This is great, but our bosses still won’t let us use the Internet at work.”

If that’s the case, I want you to either pay very close attention because you are the boss or I want you find a way to get this to your executive team.

Executives, shame on you!

It’s ridiculous to think a) your employees aren’t using the web from their phones, if you don’t allow it from their computers; and b) you can get them excited to help you if you won’t help them…even if they are being paid.

Unless you’re running a business where computer work isn’t necessary, it’s time to change the culture.

Oh I know. Changing the culture is like turning the Titanic before it hit the iceberg. But it is possible…especially if you want to enter the 21st Century and gain new business from using the Internet.

According to Chris Edmonds, the man who co-wrote Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard, there are three things you have to do:

  1. Senior leaders (of the organization/department/team) must champion the culture change. The responsibility for proactive management of team culture cannot be delegated to any other player or role. Only senior leaders can change expectations, structure, policies, and procedures to support the desired culture.
  2. Senior leaders must create measurable, behavioralized values. You have to define what it means to use social media for business purposes. What does success look like? How will internal brand ambassadors act? What will they say and do online?
  3. Senior leaders hold themselves and all staff accountable for both performance standards and values expectations. Once valued behaviors are published, leaders at all levels are “under the microscope.” Employees will be observing leaders’ plans, decisions, and actions closely to see if they “walk the values talk.” Only when leaders demonstrate desired valued behaviors will the employee population embrace those behaviors. Which means you have to use social media. Yes, I know. You don’t have time. But, if you want it to work (and it does work), you have to demonstrate you’re willing to carve out some time each day to participate online. You have to demonstrate the online behavior you want from your team.

Social media is not going to go away. You can either keep your head in the sand and hope you don’t have to deal with it before you retire. Or you can begin to change your culture and see significant business results from using the web to generate, cultivate, and convert leads.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich