Still feeling that social media is an alien planet?
that social media
is an alien planet?
It’s time to join
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
Head of Digital results. More importantly, in today’s climate, it gives equal voice to
firstname.lastname@example.org 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 – http://www.slideshare.net/salterbaxter
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 – http://www.flickr.com/photos/salterbaxter
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
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.
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
International Hotel Group http://www.ihgplc.com/
FedEx Citizenship blog
If you are looking to engage your audience frequently, then
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
Gap inc http://www.gapinc.com/socialresponsibility/
The Guardian Newspaper http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainability
Networks & forums
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:
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) http://www.responsibilityproject.com/
Co-operative Bank (uK) http://blog.goodwithmoney.co.uk/topics/campaigns/
Co-operative Bank (uK) http://www.co-operativecampaigns.co.uk/toxicfuels/
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
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
The benefit of such an approach is your capacity to tailor your
communications and also exploit social mediums used specifically by close
Other companies spreading their message:
Nestle http://www.nestle.com/csv, http://www.youtube.com/user/NestleCSV
Content first, platform second
The Fun Theory by Volkswagen
of bloggers post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw 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.
pieces of content – links
The best of the best
Ford and social media
to news stories, blog posts, http://www.thefordstory.com/
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:
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 http://www.youtube.com/
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?
http://www.youtube.com/ A different ending
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 http://www.crisisofcredit.com/
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.