Still feeling that social media is an alien planet?


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Its time to join the conversation.

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Still feeling that social media is an alien planet?

  1. 1. DIRECTIONS SUPPLEMENT OCTObER / NOvEMbER 09 Still feeling that social media is an alien planet? It’s time to join the conversation
  2. 2. Social media – OMG* it’s so hard and so not corporate! Without question, digital technologies and now social media have radically changed the way we operate and communicate as businesses, corporations, families and friends. The capacity to talk and share online in real time is amplified by social media. What social media has provided us with is the ability to share our message and connect with audiences much more than before and with more visible Mel McVeigh Head of Digital results. More importantly, in today’s climate, it gives equal voice to your customers, consumers, critics and competitors. Communicating, sharing, learning, But social media is so much more than collaborating and participating are natural Facebook and YouTube. It is now an integral human traits. Obvious, non? It’s because we part of the communications media mix. all love to talk, share and be part of a network. Digital and social platforms are increasingly We all thrive when these activities are in place; the predominant way that messages we learn, adapt, innovate and improve. A key and communications are absorbed. outcome of this is that we tend to trust what our network shares with us rather than a piece We would argue that social media technologies of communication, advertising or promotion. are useful tools, and when used in the right context, help organisations to innovate and Think about your own experiences as a participate in conversations that engage consumer; friends, family and peers have stakeholders and keep your customers happy often recommended products and services – so ultimately support shareholder value. that you remember, value and engage with. The companies that listen to you, include you But engagement in social media and networking in the process and respond to your feedback, needs consideration like any other engagement ultimately keep you as a valued and repeat strategy. Companies need to determine what customer. As a customer, a consumer, or the right channels and networks are for an employee you want to be part of the them and their communities and how best process as it contributes to a more enriching to provide value. experience and one that’s more real and relevant to you. We recognise that in some cases there are barriers to overcome and you are not alone. So if, as individuals, we thrive in these But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. networks, why are so many companies cautious and resistant to embracing this Does it really work? We think so, and to way of communicating? illustrate the point we are highlighting some companies who are finding real value in At salterbaxter, we have a lot of conversations communicating, collaborating and sharing with our clients and our peers who tell us using social media. that social media doesn’t or won’t work for the corporate sector. The mantra is that it is not appropriate to embrace social media in a Follow us on twitter corporate context. ‘Facebook is banned’ and @salterbaxter ‘we don’t have access to YouTube’. Many fear how this approach would work within existing Read our recent Directions reports and supplements company culture. Marketing teams know they on Slideshare – can’t ignore it but don’t know where to start. And some who do embrace social media Check out our latest photos then wonder why it doesn’t work, when they on Flickr – broadcast the same old messages via these channels rather than recognising that they are part of a network. * Just in case... OMG = Oh My God
  3. 3. Directions Supplement October / November 09 Corporates using social platforms as a way of engaging their communities It’s early days, but we expect to see more companies integrating social media with traditional online communications over the next 12 months. These examples show companies that are successfully embracing social media. Corporate websites ASDA Corporate website Is this the future of corporate websites? They certainly don’t need to be static or conventional reporting channels. This social platform for ASDA is a great example of a strategy to regularly communicate to their core audience. What is so great about it? ASDA haven’t siloed their social media activity from their existing communications, but have created an integrated experience. Other corporate websites integrating social media: International Hotel Group Corporate responsibility FedEx Citizenship blog If you are looking to engage your audience frequently, then 25% of search results for the reporting on your sustainability programme every 12 to 18 months world’s top 20 largest with old data will not meet that business requirement. Create a brands are links to user platform that is scalable and flexible to handle frequently updated generated content. content from various sources and then share them across the web and other social networks like YouTube. What’s so good about that? It gives people a reason to keep coming back. FedEx’s citizenship blog is frequently updated – every week. There is an active community who share, comment and feedback as well as a loyal audience of repeat visitors. A great and consistent way of sharing your stories, performance and activity. More corporate responsibility websites exploiting social networking and content: Gap inc The Guardian Newspaper
  4. 4. Networks & forums American Express Representing your company is not all about sending out messages promoting products and services. Drive value by providing services that make your customers jobs and lives easier. This creates a more positive and continuous customer experience. Open Forum highlights relevant information, encouraging browsing through the site. Engaging with content across a variety of issues and problems to inspire and inform the business community. Other great networks and forums: Centrica 58&blogger=simonhenderson HSBC Campaign for change Marks & Spencer (UK) Communicate with a campaign mindset. Get your employees involved and promote all the good activity out there. Imagine the impact and influence we could have with regards to company issues if we engaged people in solving them. Marks & Spencer’s Plan A campaign shows that companies can be open and work with partners and communities to drive as well as promote real change. More great campaigns for change: CSR campaign by Liberty Mutual (uS) Co-operative Bank (uK) Co-operative Bank (uK) Online conversations happen beyond the boundaries of your website. Are you part of the conversation? Conversations are happening in many places across the internet. Are you aware of where your company is being discussed and debated? And if you want to engage your users and stakeholders do you need to join the existing conversation rather than creating your own? Don’t communicate with everyone in the same way Timberland Sustainability Effective communications should be targeted to each of your stakeholder audiences. Engaging youth culture is vastly different to engaging corporate CR professionals. Should you communicate with them through the same channel? Not necessarily, you could publish in multiple sources specific to that audience. The benefit of such an approach is your capacity to tailor your communications and also exploit social mediums used specifically by close stakeholder groups. Other companies spreading their message: Nestle,
  5. 5. Content first, platform second The Fun Theory by Volkswagen 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands. If the web is a mass of conversations, make something worth talking about. Engaging content – think viral. Who is going to share a boring report or come back to a website that is never updated? What value does it have? Who would be interested in sharing and discussing it? Create content and services worth passing on. Make it easy for your stakeholders and your fans to spread the word. Volkswagen’s fun theory received 1.2 million+ views in the first four days. 1.5m pieces of content – links The best of the best Ford and social media to news stories, blog posts, notes, photos – are shared on Facebook every day. Who is doing it best? Discussed in many social media channels and for good reason, Ford has an integrated view of the importance of social media across all their user and stakeholder groups from customers and fans to employees and stakeholders. The same frameworks apply and with measureable success. As of March 2009, Ford is mentioned on average in 12 million blogs compared with Chrysler averaging less than half at around 5 million*. Even better, there is also a site that aggregates all their activity so you can see where they have a social media presence. Read in more detail about their statistics and impact: * from-scott-monty-of-ford/ Videos worth watching In the interests of sharing, here are some 100 Greatest hits of YouTube in 4 minutes videos that we’ve seen over the last couple of months that have made us sit up, take watch?v=BudhFVnN2o0 notice and occasionally smile. And one more, just for fun. How many have you been sent via email? Social media revolution? A different ending watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8 Still think it’s a fad? watch?v=JFVkzYDNJqo Not for profit campaign to prevent knife Did you know 4.0 crime in the uK. watch?v=6ILQrurEWe8 Crisis of Credit Want to know about the latest shifts in behaviour? Want to understand the credit crisis better and how it all started? Wake up freak out and get a grip A great video on the impacts of climate change. Know your meme Fantastic site explaining the logic behind all the latest fads.
  6. 6. About us Contact: Louise Dudley-Williams Salterbaxter advises companies Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 5720 on strategy, branding, corporate Emily Measor communications and design. Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 5720 We name companies, re-invent companies, re-position companies and re-brand companies. About Directions We help companies communicate with shareholders and Directions is a series of their employees and we advise them on how to address research and insight pieces corporate responsibility. We create brands, complete covering the full range of corporate communications company communications programmes and global issues. These supplements guidelines. We design, build and manage websites, support the main annual Directions report which e-commerce sites and all things interactive. We develop focuses on corporate climate change campaigns and bring sustainability to life. responsibility. If you’d like to contribute please get in touch. In short we apply strategic and creative thinking to the full range of corporate communications issues. Our clients are extremely varied and include FTSE 100 and Euro 100 companies; some of the world’s most exclusive brands; independent, entrepreneurial businesses; world leading educational establishments; law firms; private equity firms and media companies. We have a range of strategies, tools and services that can help companies develop effective approaches to social 202 Kensington Church Street London W8 4DP media and all things digital – we’d love to share these Tel +44 (0)20 7229 5720 with you, so please get in touch. Fax +44 (0)20 7229 5721 This supplement is printed on Think Bright and is supplied by Howard Smith. It is an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified material and is 100% recyclable. Printed by CTD, an ISO 14001 certified and FSC accredited company. TT-COC-2142 ©1996 Forest Stewardship Council A.C