Corporations and social media?

Facebook, twitter, blogs, utterli’, wikis, youtube; most employees in your company already participate in at least one of these social media platforms in their own time.

Two questions arise from a corporate standpoint:

  1. whether or not to ignore this trend
  2. if not, then how best to engage with social media.

Threats and opportunities:

When companies are faced with a new form of media, they face issues that range from managing a corporate image, security and brand-control to name but a few.

  • So should a company go-ahead and start a blog?
  • What about having a Twitter account?
  • Who should speak for the company?
  • Will individuals be allowed to have their own social media presence and be officially sanctioned by the company?
  • Will employees spend more time socializing online than actually working?
  • What is the ROI for social media?

To start with, social media may be looked-upon as a vehicle to express a more informal image corporate image, leaving official communication to the company’s website and press releases. This way, clients and other stakeholders can experience a more direct, more personal, relationship with the company. Social media can also help discern and deal with potential problems before they spiral out of control. These may be related to a product malfunction or lack service (see case study below). Properly managed, social media can save money and energy by dealing with the problem at its root.

Productivity and mood can also benefit when employees know that they are encouraged to communicate and that social media tools are made at their disposal. Which tools and what rules will be implemented depend on size, industry and culture, the company is operating in.

The right frame of mind.

Ultimately, a company shouldn’t participate in social media just because its competitors and others are doing so. It should know from the start why it is doing it, what is it trying to achieve, how best to support its existing communication channels with new ones. Establishing sound protocols and rules of engagement will go a long way to create competitive advantage through social media.

Twitter, a customer-care case study:

Mike Arrington of TechCrunch had complained on Twitter about a problem with Comcast. His comment found its way to the company’s upper echelons and sent a serviceman to Chapman’s house. Less than 24 hours later, problem solved.
Source: Market Place, NPR

Find me on twitter.

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