Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Kevin Magee, Director of Sales at Expion, a client of Social Media Explorer.
Social and compliance might seem like two words that don’t go together, but for global organizations, maintaining a sense of order amidst the social media chaos is a must. We previously discussed the mistakes that companies need to avoid in order to “be social” – but now comes the implementation. Now, it’s time to move within the organization and get social integrated as seamlessly as possible.
You’ve heard it said before, it’s best to keep things simple. So how do you integrate social media in a global organization with 50,000 employees and keep it simple? I can share what I’ve seen as the necessary steps for success and you might just recognize a pattern: integrate social as you would any critical component of your organization:
1. Get your social policy here.
Seriously, here are 4 companies that post their social policies (that is mighty social of them, wouldn’t you say?)
Don’t step outside of this process, since there needs to be a framework for “how to be social” within the organization. This guide should include how to play (the platforms, and the decorum), what to say and what not to say, as well as what kinds of communication each employee is responsible for. There also need to be clear lines regarding what constitutes personal vs. company social activity; this is particularly important for employees with consumer-facing public and private personas.
Also key to note is that this social media policy document must be able to evolve. Social media platforms change their terms of service (TOS) constantly, and consumers are always finding new channels to communicate with and about the brands they love (or hate). Corporate can and should definitely dictate the guidelines for the health of the business overall, but flexibility should be built in.
2. Get your senior execs on board from the onset.
If they are not in the boat, the boat won’t sail. Ever. How many successful corporate-wide ventures have succeeded without the support, direction and encouragement of your senior leadership team?
You may need to make it easy on the senior execs to gain their buy-in, however. That could mean working with marketing and customer service staff to create a draft of the social media policy first, then submitting to senior staff for approval. It could also mean creating mock campaigns, vetting social media management software, and even pulling research and data to support the position that the course of action you’re suggesting is the most effective, efficient option.
3. Train and then train some more.
Your employees know social – one in every six minutes online is spent on social media – but they may not know how you want them to play, at least on the company time, brand and dime. You have to tell them (by creating a social media policy) and you have to show them.
Global organizations likely have the full range of education in terms of employees – from high school grads to MBAs – all with varying degrees of knowledge of social media protocols, etiquette and comfort. Your high school grads may be much more comfortable in social media than your business MBAs, for example, and that’s OK. The goal is to recognize the varying skill levels and deliver training that is specific to the roles each associate will play within your newly “social” organization.
4. Let your company’s voice sing in social.
To me, the most effective social media marketing campaigns – at least the ones that have been viral and memorable – are the ones that have real personality. Deep inside that massive, global organization is a personality, and customers already see it in your more traditional marketing efforts. Why not use it for social too?
If you’re known for supreme customer service, deliver that message. Are your products the best, or are they fighting for respect? Are you an incredible value compared to your competition? Find that social voice that is consistent with your existing message, and then let it sing. (And this is why the marketing team should own social leadership internally – not IT, not legal and certainly not finance. They’re already crafting, planning, staging and executing your message today, so they’ll naturally be able to understand how to craft that message and voice for social).
5. Stop thinking like a big brand and go small.
To be really effective at social, you need to learn what your community wants – not just blast things out to them – and developing social listening and engagement skills takes practice. A simple ratio would be this: Make 80% of the company’s social content about things your target audience is interested in, and the remaining 20% of can be promotional.
Simple ratio, yes … a bit more difficult for the marketing team (which I just championed) to execute, because they’re programmed to promote (I think it’s in their DNA). So who do you turn to for guidance? The staff that typically interfaces with consumers directly. For some companies, it’s the call center employees, for others, its customer service; in the case of a restaurant chain, it’s the servers, bartenders and managers that are on the front lines. Bottom line is, you need input from the employees that aren’t feeding from the corporate food trough on a daily basis – they actually live the product and the company message.
From them, you’ll learn that some topics and subjects may not work in terms of driving consumer response or engagement across multiple social channels. Facebook, for example, decides what users see in the newsfeed based on how they interact with various types of content. If they don’t interact with your brand, then you won’t be visible to them in a crowded newsfeed. Similarly, if you are not interesting to your Twitter followers, well, they are not going to read what you are tweeting, they won’t retweet, share with friends or otherwise respond.
As I said before, the employees on the front
lines understand this best. In our experience, it’s the local guys who really get it! We have data that shows a 10x multiple on fan engagement for local pages vs. a brand’s corporate page. That is worth repeating: TEN TIMES the engagement!
So don’t shy from social because it’s unique and your organization is too large. Beat your competition and stick with what it is that you do best: it’s the process, baby.
About the Guest Author: Kevin Magee is the Director of Sales for Expion and has been instrumental in helping the company grow its client base. He brings nearly two decades of enterprise sales, management and marketing experience to the team, including P&L responsibility and strategic development. Expion’s software manages thousands of business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and beyond. Its centralized platform empowers customers to localize and align their social marketing efforts.