Case Study: Social Business Governance Program for Local Government

Business Challenge

Local government had a conservative culture and formal organization that strove to hold itself accountable for its actions and work processes. As do all governments, it faced several vocal political factions that were active online and ready to criticize decisions.

Having delayed its entrance to major social (media) venues, management was committed to building their social business capabilities, so they asked CSRA to build the foundation of social business governance.


As engagement partner, worked with the Communications team to develop its four-legged social business governance platform: social business policy; social media monitoring, social business competency and social business management.


Led formation of the client’s social business policy using SNR’s collaborative approach. Diligenced and synthesized local government social media risks, and surveyed internal community to learn their perceived risks. Designed various social business roles for employee types and the public, and created policies for each based on rights and responsibilities.

Built social business monitoring console by reusing high-priority stakeholder and workstream filters, and automated searching and responding. Designed analytics to educate the client about what metrics had business importance. Designed workstreams that made it easy for the team to monitor various venues.

Social business competency involved building an internal social business community and knowledge base for practitioners on WordPress. This gave the team real-time interactive spaces for discussion and artifacts. Designed social business training and certification program as an explicit means to mitigate risk and propagate good practices throughout the large organization.

Designed social business project management system that client could propagate throughout the organization. Each project had three roles (champion, manager and contributors) that (usually) required small focused investment. Project charters were templated, short project plans that specified goals, measurements, roles, resources and responsibilities. In addition, mentoring was explicitly designed into the process, as was the foundation of their social business competency team.


  • Social business governance program for local government provided a robust set of good practices, tools and processes to manage social business and drive adoption throughout the large organization while limiting potential risks. Management was confident that they understood risks and had responses to them.
  • Social business policy defused fears. By assembling all the fears, not only of management but of the internal community, we were able to address them in the policy and plan for them. Through external diligence, we added other risks and addressed them in the policy.
  • Project management tools (role-based charters, templates and mentoring) significantly reduced “social media orphans,” one of social business’s biggest risks (people launch and abandon venues when they see the commitment required). Part of the governance system was that sponsoring executives had to write charters, using templates, to specify goals; moreover, role templates showed what kind of actions and commitments various social venues required (Twitter, Facebook, blogs).
  • Communications, having launched several successful presences, was besieged by social media monitoring vendors, and the basic system we developed enabled management to defer large monitoring investments while “learning by doing” (another social business risk is overspending on monitoring, which provides a lot of data and charts but little guidance on how to act. Actionable data is all that counts).
  • The WordPress-based community and knowledge base fulfilled several roles. It was much easier to use than the “enterprise collaboration platform everyone hated because it made interacting so ponderous (SharePoint). It unleashed many-to-many sharing and mentoring; when departments launched social presences, they could get advice online, and the knowledge base contained reusable project templates.
  • Each project was designed to build skills as well as to achieve other business goals. The knowledge base and the project management system made it easy to “capture” and share skills and good practices.
  • The communications executive reused some of our work in her social business-oriented MBA, which she was pursuing during this engagement.

See also (same client): Social Business StrategyFacebook Page Launch, Fitness Program Launch, and Social Event Calendar Launch.

More detailed personalized case studies available on request.

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