3. Encourage broad involvement, and train for it

Nobody can "own" social media any more than anyone ever "owned" print. Or TV. Its very power derives from its reach, literally, into everyone's pocket. At a minimum, your entire communications organization must be proficient, and ideally the business leaders need to be, too, because so much of your effectiveness in this medium depends on the ability to speak in an authentic, personal voice.

A targeted training effort can pay immediate dividends. Digital immersion sessions, simulation programs, and strong, ongoing training modules (on such subjects as listening, influencer mapping, metrics, crowd-sourcing, crisis management, search, etc.) are vital to building a robust capability.

If your company is suffering from social media paralysis, give these approaches a try. I think you'll find they will enable you not only to engage the online conversation, but even more important, to influence it.

Bob Feldman is cofounder and principal of PulsePoint Group, a management and digital consulting firm. He can be reached at bfeldman@pulsepointgroup.com. His column focuses on management of the corporate communications function.