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Social media across the enterprise

Social media across the enterprise



A short article on how social media can impact various lines of business within an organization.

A short article on how social media can impact various lines of business within an organization.



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    Social media across the enterprise Social media across the enterprise Document Transcript

    • Social media across the enterprise Planning for the whole business By Doug Lacombe, MBA There’s a lot of buzz about social media these days. It seems every second story is something wacky or profound found on Facebook or YouTube. But does it truly belong in the corporate world? Are there sensible, viable applications that can further a company’s objectives? The answer is yes, but, like any communications channels, only with proper planning and policy. Social media often finds a natural home in the public relations or marketing department, but other departments can also benefit, sometimes more than PR. Human Resources (HR), Investor Relations (IR), Service, and Sales can employ social media tools to great effect, often as companion efforts to PR and marketing. Before rolling out any social media tactics, be sure to protect your organization adequately by protecting your brand on the social web (reserve the name on major platforms to avoid so-called “brand-jacking”), and set some kind of corporate policy to ensure every employee knows what is and is not acceptable behavior on social networks. Human Resources Econ 101 taught us that corporations compete for land, labor, and capital. All true, but now that includes social and intellectual capital. Finding and retaining the right talent, even in a recession, is tricky business. The old ways of classified and career ads are dying quickly. The replacement media, job boards such as Monster.ca, Workopolis.com, Working.com and so on are useful, but the ease of applying generates an overabundance of unqualified applicants. What's missing in the job board equation is a referral mechanism. LinkedIn.com is fast becoming one of recruiters' standard tools, mainly because of the social media element where people share job postings with friends. Applicants' profiles are better than a standard resume as they include references and other clues to the quality of the candidate. Recruiting new talent becomes easier with the use of social media tools such as slideshow sharing ("Salaries and benefits at XYZ Corp"), document sharing ("Why work at XYZ?"), YouTube recruiting videos ("Challenge yourself - at XYZ"), virtual job fairs and so on. The opportunity cost of not being on social media for HR is huge. "Digital poaching" has its own hard costs attached; recruiting to back-fill vacant positions, retraining costs, and lost productivity. www.communicatto.com Suite 854, 234 – 5149 Country Hills Blvd, Calgary AB, T3A 5K8 403.474.4251
    • The absence of a social media policy/framework is a corporate risk that must be mitigated. This is a natural HR function, in concert with PR. In a void of corporate policy, employees will conduct themselves as they see fit, which may not be optimal for the organization. Finally, social media tools used inside the firewall are ideal replacements or companions to traditional forms of communications, from memos to newsletters, posters to e-mails. Imagine internal chat groups, employee handbooks created in wiki software, and webcast staff presentations, and that’s just scratching the surface. Investor Relations Investor Relations is essentially about telling the company's story to the market in such a way as to achieve fair market valuation. Through a combination of widespread disclosure (press releases, conference calls, webcasts, AGM, annual reports), road shows, investor presentations, trade shows, and individual investor calls, management seeks to position the company, its stock, management, and strategy to attract and keep investors. The problem with these traditional methods is they all rely on a valuable and finite resource: management's time and energy. Content presented this way is "imprisoned" and does not cascade or push to audiences, audiences must come to the presentation or the website to get the message. Digital IR, or so- called IR 2.0 uses the social media mechanisms noted above to allow analysts and investors a way to be exposed to and share the company’s message where they "congregate" daily, such as in investment blogs, Facebook investors clubs, StockTwits' feeds, and electronic newsletters. You go to all the hard work of creating a presentation and traveling to put on roadshows, why not extend your reach so that content can be shared and audience exposure can snowball? Service Twitter, live chat, discussion boards, and blog comments are the new toll-free support lines where customers turn for help. The poster child of social media service is Comcast (yes, the American cable company) with their @comcastcares service. Frank Eliason, the originator of Comcast’s efforts in this area, really set the standard for empathetic, human support, becoming somewhat famous in so doing. Eliason and his team’s efforts really turned around Comcast’s poor reputation for service. It’s hard to quantify ROI on such efforts, but in a subscription business like cable with numerous alternatives like satellite and YouTube, customer retention is a huge deal. Sales & Marketing Shortening the sales cycle is a goal of practically every sales-driven organization, as is demand generation. Simply put, customers buy products and services from companies they know, trust, and understand. The Internet is the number one research tool used by potential buyers of everything from services to software, cars to houses. Prepared by: Doug Lacombe Page 2 of 3 January 15, 2010
    • All three elements, knowledge, trust, and understanding, can be addressed with a digital sales tool kit, blending traditional sales tools with social media elements. Imagine the trade-show video now on YouTube, linked at the bottom of every e-mail signature and on brochures. Or white papers shared on Scribd and thumb drives. The possibilities are endless. Social media publishing platforms will give prospects more ways to rapidly know, trust and understand a company and its services. The sales force will be that much more successful in moving those prospects along the sales curve when they have a digital library with which to rapidly counter objection after objection. Public Relations Finally, the early adopters of social media, the PR department, know a company’s brand and reputation impacts all of the above. More and more reputations are made, or lost, in the digital sphere. Necessary strategic steps include protecting the brand, understanding social media culture, monitoring for coverage and mentions, implementing policy and, finally, participating in small pilot projects. This is particularly relevant in the area of crisis communications; where most responses to crises now break on YouTube or Twitter, not mainstream media. Maple Leaf Foods managed the listeria crisis in large part due to a proactive social media response. The same happened when Dominos staff took video of themselves misbehaving with customers’ food and posted it on YouTube. In the unlikely event that a tragedy occurred involving staff, facilities, or equipment, the day of the crisis is not the day to learn how to upload a YouTube video and launch a channel. These are but a few of the ways any organization can benefit from a digital communications strategy. In the end it requires proper planning and integration with corporate strategy to be successful. Doug Lacombe is President of communicatto, a digital marketing, public and investor relations firm. More articles and information can be found at communicatto.com. Prepared by: Doug Lacombe Page 3 of 3 January 15, 2010