View point3 - corporate social networking


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View point3 - corporate social networking

  1. 1. Issue 03 Corporate social networking Corporate social networking – is it right for your business? viewpoint Corporate digital communications
  2. 2. Issue 03 Corporate social networking viewpoint A practical guide to integrating social media into your business In this issue we explore how corporate social networking is being used to add genuine value to traditional stakeholder communications strategies. In the last two years social media tools and networking channels have become a dominant feature in the online landscape. Your employees are using them. Potential recruits are using them. Investors are using them. Customers are using them. Discussions about your brand are already taking place. Whether your organisation is ready for it or not, social networking is here to stay. The reality is that companies need to be participating in these stakeholder conversations so that they can help shape the outcomes. So it is important to understand how these new tools can benefit your business and how corporate social networking can be integrated into your existing corporate brand and communications strategy. On the face of things social media present a bewildering array of new options. RSS feeds, corporate tweets, iPhone apps, to name but a few. And this is even before you throw user generated content (UGC) into the mix. Not only do you have to plan your own communications, if you are lucky enough to be successful and engage with your stakeholders, you now also have to prepare for them to communicate back when they Yelp about you or write about your brand on their Facebook wall. Bewildering? Initially maybe. Beyond you? Absolutely not. Nothing has fundamentally changed. As with any innovation in the marketplace there is a lot of hype. The key is in cutting through the noise and deciding what is right for your company and where social networking can offer genuine benefit to your existing stakeholder communications. PLANNING YOUR IAL STAKEHOLDER SOC MEDIA ROADMAP
  4. 4. Think before you tweet! STAFF Our guide to getting Create employee your social media social networks in strategy off the ground the workplace Introduce wikis to provide a place where your people 1 Make it count can build connections, collaborate, share best practices and support career development and learning. We can Don’t make a hasty decision to rush into social media. imagine a time when social networks replace email as If you invest straight away in recruiting a new ‘tweeting the primary internal communications channel – for the engagement team’ without a clear plan as to how it very simple reason that hitting ‘reply all’ is not the same fits in with wider objectives, you will end up regretting it. as collaboration! Set KPI’s in advance and measure ROI based on actual business results for the company. Recommended social media 2 Cover all the bases User generated information Social media doesn’t just mean Twitter or Facebook! The channels are changing daily so don’t just invest Social networks in one. Research which social media sites your stakeholders are using. Choose a few of the most appropriate and spread your time and energy evenly across them. At Nokia more than 20% of the company’s 3 Plan your content 68,000 employees now use wiki pages to collaborate Clearly the content must be engaging. But who will globally – updating schedules and project status, be responsible for approving it and making sure it is exchanging ideas, and editing shared files. on-brand? What formats will you need – copy, video, photos, audio, interactive? Where will it come from, is it original or repurposed? How will you address any negative comments about the company? Is your strategy compliant with legal and regulatory requirements? 4 Think long-term Once your company begins dialogue with stakeholders it needs to be continued. This may mean long-term commitment of time and resource from your team – producing content, posting, sharing, and responding. So ensure that you have the right process, assets and tools in place. One option is to outsource these tasks to an external digital agency via an SLA to ensure creative and timely ongoing management. 5 Build a network Don’t overlook the process of building a network. Just because you start a conversation don’t assume that stakeholders will respond. Without effective reach, there is no effective ROI so don’t underestimate the need for traditional media channels to seed growth onto your new corporate social network. Identify your different stakeholder groups and work out which of these groups is most likely to respond to social media. 6 Experiment Until you dip your toe into the water you won’t know the benefits or risks of corporate social networking for your company. So as a first step: pick a trial social media project for one stakeholder group that won’t take too much time; write down successes and challenges; ask or listen to people you connected with as to what worked and what didn’t; watch other companies, copy, remix and move on to the next stakeholder group.
  5. 5. GRADUATES INVESTORS Win the war for talent Make your company by building your own a more attractive talent communities investment opportunity Boost your employee retention and engage with Get to know the online financial blogs where potential recruits to your business through social your stakeholders are discussing their investments. media channels. Micro-blogs can add ‘human interest’ Some of the biggest are Seeking Alpha, StockTwits to your corporate recruitment messages. Internally, and wikinvest. Make your financial content social by consider using podcasts to deliver training globally. sharing it – add your presentations to content sharing Externally, consider setting up a Facebook group sites and increase transparency with the wider online to foster your own talent community. community of investors, analysts and the press. Recommended social media Recommended social media User generated content Content sharing Social networks User generated content Microsoft has built a community that adds value to Rio Tinto uses Twitter as a newswire to notify shareholders the target recruits beyond just the future job prospect. on financial updates. The Tweets cover news, events and The site showcases ‘Real People’ telling ‘Real Stories’ presentations and link back to the corporate IR website. and features the latest in social networking, RSS feeds, video and blogs.
  6. 6. CUSTOMERS MEDIA Start putting your Proactively manage customer at the heart your corporate of your brand reputation online Social networks can be used to deliver improved Leverage micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter customer service and address negative perceptions to set the media agenda and drive users back to about your company online. Twitter provides a good stories on your corporate site. It can also be used for platform to immediately engage with customers by live-blogging of company events such as the AGM or responding directly to conversations, enquiries quarterly results announcements. Content sharing sites or complaints related to your organisation. can be used to make brand assets such as video and images quickly available to the media. Recommended social media Recommended social media User generated content Content sharing Social networks Social networks Dell taps into its own customers as a source of talent Centrica has created a dedicated YouTube channel and innovation. Customers can submit ideas for new to host videos produced by the company. The videos products or improvements to existing services and vote showcase the company’s community involvement and on the ideas they would most like to see Dell develop. CSR activities. TO FIND OUT HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS GIVE US A CALL
  7. 7. Issue 03 Corporate social networking viewpoint “Empower your staff to participate in social media conversations” Andy Robinson Technical team lead Whatever your company’s official level of engagement in social media the personal take up of sites such as Facebook and services such as Twitter means there is a good chance that your staff are already involved everyday in online conversations that may impact – either directly or indirectly – on your company and your brand. So it is important to put in place corporate guidelines that empower your staff to participate in social media conversations in the right way. Social media channels are by definition new and unfamiliar environments with new rules and conventions. And often the distinction between staff participating personally or acting on behalf of the company can become blurred. It is all too easy to forget that what is posted in haste on Twitter can be seen by colleagues or customers, as well as by friends. And we have heard many social media horror stories – such as the recent case of one part of our clients business uploading sales videos onto YouTube which directly contradicted messages from another part of the business! The best guidelines often simply boil down to reminding staff that the same rules that apply to messaging and communication in traditional media still apply in the social media space. They give advice on how company and brand values can be applied to social media. They remind staff about the difference in speaking ‘on behalf of the company’ and speaking ‘about’ the company. And they give the communications team a place to emphasise important company policies, such as Code of Business Conduct or Confidentiality Agreements, which need to be adhered to online. Guidelines should not only protect your brand but also protect your staff and provide your entire organisation with a framework to use social media channels with confidence both personally and professionally. If done well they can help turn your staff into social network champions for the business. You can ask them to monitor the social media landscape during their own usage and report back positive and negative remarks about the company. The best advice we give our own staff is to use their common sense. Conversations are the lifeblood of social networks and over time the conversations they are having today may well prove to be springboards for wider company marketing and communications initiatives in the future. For more View blogs visit our website:
  8. 8. View is a corporate digital communications agency. We help FTSE and global companies engage with their business stakeholders. We do communications and content strategy; stakeholder engagement; corporate websites, intranets and microsites; bespoke application development; integrated marcomms campaigns; digital design, build and support services. For more information please contact: Jason Ross, CEO Tel: +44 (0)20 8811 8651 Ben Procter, Senior Account Director Tel: +44 (0)20 8811 8613 View The Penthouse Block A, Long Island House Warple Way London W3 0RG +44 (0)20 8811 8600 Corporate digital communications