Thursday, July 10, 2008

Evolution of Social Media at Cisco (Part 2 of a Series)

I had another fun conversation today with Amy Paquette of Cisco. Our first chat was in June: see my post on "The ROI of Cisco's Social Media Program." Amy and I plan to chat at least once a month "until it doesn't make sense for us to chat anymore" (but that will hopefully never happen because she is so much fun!) Their social media program is so evolved that they already have people who specialize in things like "virtual communications" on Second Life. Something to aspire to : - )

It is interesting how the Social Media Program at Cisco evolved -- it certainly did not happen overnight. One thing that fueled the fire: as the external communications team was putting together their social media program, the internal comms team was simultaneously building a robust internal community. They had several hundred internal blogs before the external program took off. Amy said:

Having internal blogs is a great way for [potential external bloggers] to find their voice, and learn how to communicate with their blog. People feel more free to ask questions.

Probably the biggest differentiator at Cisco is the culture. Social media has support at the highest level of the company -- John Chambers regularly reads the external blog posts: Cisco has 12 Corporate Blogs with more than 80 bloggers. And let's face it, even the staunchest "blog haters" might waiver when the boss reads 'em.

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