Different companies have taken alternative approaches to corporate social media adoption. Reviewing the landscape and history of social media I believe there are four ways social media deployment has happned within larger enterprises:
1) Organic – Microsoft, IBM and many early technology pioneers in blogging and social media technologies organically grew their use of social media. Individuals risked their careers and set up blogs and other applications without permission from executives. As a result their companies reaped long term successes.
2) Inspired - Again companies like Microsoft set up individuals centers of excellence around social media. Microsoft set up Channel9 hosted by front man Robert Scoble. The effort inspired wider social media adoption by other brands and departments within Microsoft.
3) Structured - A central social media engagement center is built. After Dell Hell, Dell set up monitoring, triage, response and quality control in 2006. The company improved customer service and used social media to develop more innovative products, and in the process turned a -49% negative rating in blog to -22% over an 18 month period. Executive support and resources were strong. I believe Macromedia; under the guidance of Jeremy Allaire before they were purchased by Adobe was another example of the structured approach to social media deployment.
4) Immerse & disperse - Faced with a low budget and the need to spread ideas about social media quickly through people across the enterprise, but not wishing to take the inspired approach. Chris Barger's General Motors hired employees into a small central social media engagement center, trained employees in how to use social media, before sending each graduate of immerse and disperse over to a brand or other corporate department.