One of the things we talk about at FRANk on a regular basis is where companies think Social Media should sit within their business. Most often, companies believe Social Media should sit within the marketing function of the organisation – or worse, the IT department! – because Social Media is a sales tool, right?
Social Media needs a dedicated resource and while this doesn’t mean someone should be sitting in the office shooting off tweets about what the company is plugging today, it does mean that the model needs to be looked at from many angles to ascertain exactly what each business needs.
One size does not fit all.
A corporate account might be the right way to go – but you shouldn’t talk about yourself all day. Having employees be brand ambassadors and tweet from many accounts might be more your style – but this is also something that needs a careful strategy and planning.
In a recent blog post by Summer Goodwin, the decentralised Social Media model was explored. Summer discussed how employees who are building social relationships and online communities by blogging, tweeting and engaging people with the brand in different ways create a two way flow of communication. Empowering employees to have a corporate voice is far more social than a CEO or corporate opinion. The example of IBM that we presented last week at FRANkademy is evidence of this.
Summer highlighted seven key benefits of decentralising your Social Media activities:
1. More brand noise
How does one official twitter account compare with 25 brand ambassadors tweeting? Enough said.
2. More compelling content
With employees blogging regularly about their areas of expertise, your company will produce more diverse, interesting content. Content is still king. With two-way flow between central division and your brand ambassadors, imagine all the fresh, compelling content available for your marketing strategy.
3. More relevance
A decentralised ‘many voices’ model enables your brand to connect with people who may never have engaged otherwise. Relevance is key in the social world.
4. More savvy employees
Social media training is critical to this model. Dell’s Simone Versteeg said the company has two types of employees – those who are official brand ambassadors and those who are just plain social. Employees choose what they want to be and there are guidelines and training for both.
5. More speed in a crisis
We no longer have the luxury of time in crisis communications. What happens if the employee responsible for the official account is at lunch when the 140 character news breaks? Your trained brand ambassadors will be monitoring social networks too and can quickly be the voice of your organisation.
6. More feedback
A recent survey found 70 per cent of social media complaints are ignored. Using a decentralised model enables employees to engage in direct social dialogue with consumers. Why do we want to respond to feedback? To improve the way we do business.
7. More innovation
Employees may have very creative ideas for social media. Dutch airline KLM, for example, has introduced an opt-in service enabling passengers to select their seat based on shared Facebook profiles. Imagine all the social ideas your employees have right now that you can experiment with.
Over to you…
Where does Social Media sit within your organisation and do you feel this model would benefit your business? Do you agree that Social Media works well when it is 5% of everyone’s job, rather than 100% of one persons job?