Social media: Or how I taught people to stop worrying and love the SOCMED pt 1

One of the biggest challenges faced with being behind the growth in social media in any organisation is to try and get those who do not understand it, to love it.

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Social media is a lot of things. It is new, it is now and it is public just to name a few.

It is also incredible and exciting.

Yet so many people in upper management overlook the role social media can play in the growth of any organisation, and consider it a tick box exercise. They’re okay with it, they let it go, but they don’t necessarily support it and they rarely contribute to it. Why? They simply don’t love it.

I have worked in two organisations communication departments. The first organisation had a gun of a social media manager, and my role with social media was the planning side of things which kept the upper management off her back. Essentially I always had to explain the why and the how whilst she did the what.

It wasn’t easy for her, although she’d never admit it, to continuously manage upwards as the upper management had high expectations and minimal resources.

And by resources, I mean people.

“It’s ironic that most companies spend 50% to 70% of their money on people’s salaries. And yet they spend less than 1% of their budget to train their people. Most companies, in fact, spend more time and money on maintaining their buildings and equipment than they do on maintaining and developing their own people”[i]

But they did a lot of things right too. They encouraged staff to all incorporate the organisations branding in their social media, and had begun looking into a social media policy to ensure reputational risks were kept at bay.

They, primarily the social media manager, ensured that the staff LOVED social media!

“To take full advantage of social media on an enterprise level, you need senior leadership to push social media practices organization-wide and become agents of change themselves.”[ii]

The benefits of having the entire organisation involved in social media is far greater than simply brand promotion.

Having the entire organisation on board, means your content will remain fresh, interactive and interesting to your audience.

“People are more likely to communicate through both word-of-mouth and social media when they are engaged with the product, service, or idea.”[iii]

When I first started at my current organisation as the social media coordinator, I had a challenge in front of me. Whilst no one was against social media, very few people were particularly ‘for’ it.

I would spend hours trolling through the organisations website trying to find content for social media. Luckily, the Twitter already had a strong following and the Facebook wasn’t entirely unloved. I had a good foundation to start from.

Now I actually have to schedule people in to share their content. I have staff working on images to share on social media and I recently recruited volunteers to assist with social media at our annual conference.

Getting my colleagues to LOVE social media means that I am able to curate a higher quality of content.

It also means that you can work as a team through any reputational risks that present themselves through social media. If you are confident that your organisation is as passionate about social media as you, you can walk into the office of the relevant manager (or director when the case calls for it) and discuss the best management plan when this risks rear their ugly head.

“This prevalence and open nature of the platform that is bringing an entirely new set of reputation risks to businesses, with implications on their wider perception management strategy.”[iv]

It is crucial, as the social media voice of the organisation, that the facts you share are correct. And the best way to get these facts are from the subject matter expert.

Remember, your organisations social media accounts are representative of the entire organisation. The BEST way to represent the entire organisation is to have everyone not just on board, but passionate about the social media plans you create and the implementation of such plans.

“Social media literally is the means by which your business can relate to, exist in and influence human communities. In short: social media is human interaction. Taking part in social media means your business must become more human to be more successful.”[v]

In part two next week I will share with you all how I went about implementing this organisational shift.

[i] The One Minute Manager. Kenneth Blanchard PHD, Spencer Johnson M.D

[ii] http://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-gain-executive-buy-in-on-the-importance-of-social-media/

[iii] Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix W. Glynn Mangold a,*, David J. Faulds b

[iv] http://www.saltshein.com.au/corporate-affairs-insights/how-important-is-social-media-to-your-reputational-risk-management

[v] http://ymarketingmatters.com/best-tips-for-successful-social-media-and-digital-marketing-in-2014/

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