Is Social Media An Afterthought In Your Company?

Here’s an example of a typical mechanism in which many companies adopt social media:

  1. The Marketing / Communications Department think that they need to do something about it.
  2. During the next product launch they do everything the same.
  3. At final stages they start wondering “how can they incorporate social media” to get more exposure.
  4. Many of them waste even more time trying to get this “social media thing” approved by Legal or other departments before it can go live.

Does it sound familiar?

Some of you might know by now that this approach will simply not work at all, especially when social media is seen as a pure “advertising platform”.

I was reading yesterday an interview by Jesse Stanchak on social media strategy with Scott Monty (Head of Social Media, Ford Motors). He said:

“We start thinking about product launches and shows like this, that it’s baked in from the beginning. It’s not an afterthought, where you get the rubber stamp, β€œwhat are we doing for social media?” kind of thing”

This is one HUGE reason why companies like Ford are very successful spreading the word cleverly in social networks. Without this approach, it doesn’t matter if you have a big budget, your company would be wasting most of it (if not all).

If your business is getting ready to implement social media, make sure of the following:

Be open and patient

Don’t think about the Marketing or Communications Department only. There are more people within the company that will be more than happy to participate and share their creativity and social media ideas.
Also, don’t get discouraged if not everybody cooperates with the idea. One of the biggest obstacles for companies approaching social media are lack of knowledge and company culture.

Act creatively

Besides all the obvious points like having a goal, defined metrics, expectations… have a proper creative round with the team you put together for this project (maybe product launch). You will notice that this step will make a significant difference. Not all the ideas will make but you will nurture a good pipeline.
If anybody says: “I don’t have any good ideas”, answer, “tell me all the bad ones you have then”, as Seth Godin would say.

Think social

What is that same answer you deliver to clients everyday? What is your customers/prospects’ best topic/product? The answers to these questions would represent clearly “something of interest” and could be converted into “hot content“. In other words, if you are delivering that same daily answer to one person at a time by email, only one person at a time can benefit. Versus, you do a quick, creative (could be a screencast) blog post, or video of yourself/team explaining the solution and thousands of people will benefit and what’s best: more people will know that you exist πŸ™‚
The majority of companies work very hard everyday to keep private what should be public.

Get found!

Once you incorporate the idea of social media from the very beginning, your team or Department will realise that is a lot simpler to think in terms “making quality pieces of content” (breadcrumbs) to be shared regularly (blog post, video, presentation, pictures, etc). Focus con leaving as many of these. Ensure to be there to talk with the people that will start feeling identified with your brand and content.

What’s your experience? What would you add?

Comments ( 13 )
  • Darlene says:

    some excellent points here, Fred. Social media is still a mystery to many, but you have given folks a good road map to get started with. I shall pass this on.


  • Channelship says:

    Thanks a lot Darlene!
    Yes, this is something that we’ve been seeing very often every time we speak to new prospects and customers and thought it would be great to share it in a blog post πŸ™‚

  • Kbhilfer says:

    The potential for social media is infinite, not just for branding but for a different methodology of corporate communication. Important to not forget that there are a host of legal issues involved, from rewriting employee manuals to cover in house behavior to creating a campaign that protects your intellectual property. Inviting user generated content? That opens a different door to unique legal issues. Best to bring an attorney into the conversation early in the game before your marketing plan is established. Kyle-Beth Hilfer

  • Channelship says:

    Makes sense Kyle-Beth.
    In our experience, however, companies that get the ball rolling speaking first to an attorney (or Legal department) did not help at all, especially (you will probably agree) since the majority of lawyers are not very up to speed in social media.
    I would suggest that companies get the creative round done and to make the business case even stronger, work on proper social media guidelines so everybody in the enterprise is on the same page. Then, improving that with Legal should be an “easier” exercise πŸ™‚

  • Declan Gray says:

    I would completely agree with the article above but I also believe that for a company to fully embrace the concept of social media we need to dig down a level or two. It isn’t just good business to say ‘Oh! we have a facebook or twitter account or we blog . . . once a month’ you have to make it work and that needs input.
    For me that’s the real challenge!! You need to map out or design a system that will maximise the full potential that the social media platforms can offer. No matter what the business structure would be, there is a way to make it work for you.

  • chie says:

    Good thoughts here Fred. I’m only dealing with small business and most of them doesn’t even go to a lawyer for advice, but they are weary on diving into social media. However, once they dived in, they don’t know how to swim.

  • Seiji Kato says:

    Very nice article. It is a rather hard one for many big company’s to get into their head, the idea of social media from the very beginning of an idea. But in truth, many people have this problem. They might join facebook or twitter, but might not use it much or even log in more than once a week or so.
    It takes a big shock to the system or some kind words and help to get them to use the system and then discover how it is supposed to be used.
    Hopefully, people reading your article will be inspired to do as you suggested πŸ™‚

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the kind words Seiji πŸ™‚

  • Channelship says:

    That’s OK. The more they get into the water the faster they’ll learn πŸ™‚

  • Olivia Landolt says:

    Great article!

    There do seem to be various misconceptions around social media use, whether it’s with regards to ROI, management, or that there is a need for huge budget as seen in the eConsultancy research with ‘Lack of budget’ ranking third.

    Going public, as you’ve coined it, doesn’t necessarily mean infinite budget, it can be as simple as blogging or using a Twitter account for outreach and engagement. This can have a significant effect without infinite resource allocation which is also why a lot of smaller companies tend to use this as part of their marketing mix.

    Another great point is that relevant content is also absolutely key. At 6Consulting we tend to draft our content according to the trends in conversation taking place within social media. Content can fall short if companies aren’t strategic about their approach, it needs to add value so that your business is ahead of the curb rather than echoing what your competitors are already saying.

    Olivia Landolt
    Marketing and Community Manager

    6Consulting | UK authorised Radian6 partner

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the comment Olivia.
    Regarding content, absolutely agree that it must be relevant. However, companies getting started with social media might not have a clear idea of what “relevant” is. In fact, 9 our of 10 will think that relevant is talk about themselves.
    We see this constantly with companies we work with. Usually the first set of posts are like that, but the moment they get into sharing what’s good for their audience (not for them) they start seeing the benefit of the interactions. It’s part of a natural learning curve.

  • Kyle-Beth Hilfer says:

    Responding to the idea that “the majority of lawyers are not very up to speed in social media,” it depends to what lawyer you are speaking. I am at the Promotion Marketing Association’s Law conference in Chicago this week and there are many lawyers here who specialize in this area and are completely up to speed. In fact, social media is one of the hot topics on the agenda. With the right attorney who has the expertise, the exercise to which you refer should be quite fruitful . Kyle-Beth Hilfer

  • Channelship says:

    That’s Excellent Kyle. I said the “majority” not all of them :)You’re obviously one of just a few lawyers up to speed in social media.

The comments are now closed.