This month at Social Media London we welcomed Jennifer Yorke, Manager of Account Services at Hootsuite EMEA.
Social media’s reach extends far beyond digital marketing. Effectively used, social can remove organisational boundaries, improve communication, ramp product discovery, and make customers happier. Jennifer spoke to us about how HootSuite can be used to meet departmental goals and empower people across your organisation.
Here are the main takeaways from the event:
The Power of Social Organisations:
Businesses are getting more and more social nowadays. This is also thanks to the speed in which social media is evolving, whether it’s with platforms changing (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) or new platforms emerging (e.g. Vine). Furthermore, with helpful tools such as Hootsuite, marketers can keep an eye on all of those platforms without having the data be a burden for them, especially if they’re working in teams.
One thing that marketers are starting to realise, though, is that social media is much more than marketing (which begs the question: does social media really sit within the marketing department?). Social shouldn’t be an isolated team but more of a resource. This doesn’t always happen, as some people are scared of the implications of using social media as part of the organisation.
So, what if people in your organisation used social media as much as they use email? What if social media was the main channel of communication, using tools such as Hootsuite or Yammer to collaborate?
The reality is that we’re all social, to our own degrees, but to support that you need an infrastructure. Opening up an internal social media strategy can increase communication and ultimately save you money. However, in order for any of that to happen, people in your organisation need to understand the meaning of social media, and often the way to help them understand it is if you show them how social can help them.
The Social Infrastructure in a Business:
Building an infrastructure around social media can be a real struggle, so how do you show the value of it in a business? This depends on who you’re talking to – if you’re talking to your sales team, show them what the value of social media is. (Ask yourself – are you in a position to quantify the value of social media to your organisation? Who do you need to collaborate with and what tools do you need to get the answer to that?)
After understanding social (how it works, its implications and its purpose), people in your organisation need to see how they can use social to their advantage. Soon, you’ll be building a social business – a business that understands that social is a two-way conversation, a business with company-wide engagement at its cornerstone. Give your entire business the opportunity to talk within and outside the business. By doing so, you’re making sure you don’t lose out on knowledge by not communicating.
There are various ways in which you could use social media. What some business do is have their employees become the main advocates. To do so, some of these employees will tweet on behalf of the company, and this is often evident on the choice of Twitter handle (e.g. if the name of the business is included in the Twitter username). However, whether this will work for you or not mainly depends on your digital strategy.
Social Media is about Content Marketing:
A quick word about social media: Social media is also about content marketing, because if you don’t have anything to share and say, you shouldn’t be on social media in the first place. Content can be images, videos, links, or even just plain text – pretty much anything that is possible on the platforms you choose to be on.
Don’t impose too many rules on your content marketing – your main four rules should be:
- Use common sense
- Try anything (different content to see what resonates best with your audience; it’s ok if something doesn’t work right away, you’ve then learnt something)
- Don’t make assumptions
- Follow the data [the stats] (this is to make sure that you’re going in the right direction)
Do Not Fear Social Media:
What’s holding you back from embracing social media in your organisation? What’s holding you back from showing the various department in your business the value and the numerous opportunities that social media can offer?
If it’s a fear of being adventurous, remember: your fear of doing something great will stop you from doing it; meanwhile, your competitors will go ahead and do just that.
If it’s a fear that not everyone will understand social media, remember: it is your responsibility to educate the teams in your business on social media, without having to recur to interns to handle your social media assets for you. If you believe people don’t have the basic understanding of social, give them that – give them the help and the trust they need. Besides being a tool to communicate with your audience, it can also be a great way for the various teams within your business to communicate.
If the fear of social persists, it’s unlikely that the business will become social. Having said that, bear in mind that not all industries will benefit from social media in the same way. In fact, some industries are slower to take in social media as an integral part of their business, such as the pharmaceutical business.
Before you dive deep in social media, make sure that you know what you’re going to do with it, and make sure that your vision for it is relevant with your business remit. Furthermore, before you choose a platform, make sure that the reasons why you want to be on that network are pertinent to your business aim. Whatever you do in social, make sure you have a clear strategy and structure to support it.