I came across an interesting interview from ADP’s CIO Mike Capone about his thoughts on social media and how a business organization can lead a successful strategy in this area. While this communications channel is still in its infancy, and there are inherent risks associated with the free exchange of ideas and information between customers and employees, the benefits of social networking far outweigh the risks. In today’s business environment, either you take on social media or it is going to take on you.
Below are a few tips on how to create a successful corporate social strategy.
Establish policies. Identify and set guidelines on which social networking sites would provide the best benefits for your company. Keep in mind the core focus of the site, its user demographics and whether the brand aligns with yours.
Educate users. Set rules about social media use and educate with specific examples. Provide best practices and ‘dos,’ which will make employees’ social efforts more successful. Corporate social media guidelines should be just restrictive enough to keep people and the brand safe.
Engage in social communities. Be social. The premise of social networks is for people to interact, not to simply push a message out or shamelessly shill products/services without providing feedback or response when questioned. Companies need to get involved in conversations with their audience, and spend more time listening whether it be to prospects, customers, competitors, partners or influencers.
Measure success. Social networks might be a mostly inexpensive way to communicate with customers, but companies should still track the ROI of their time and energy engaging employees on these sites. Businesses need to determine the results they would like to get from targeted sites and scheduled activities, then analyze which ones worked best for their customers and brand. The information collected, can then be utilized to drive demand and business decisions.
Be human. Companies should let their human side shine through and leverage the personal touch of social networking. Being authentic can go a long way to building a successful social media presence, and the potential rewards for increased audience and customer loyalty are great.
Social networking is a necessary activity in the course of business today, and it truly is a fantastic way to leverage communication channels that were not even available as recently as 5-10 years ago. It provides genuine opportunities for real-time feedback, innovation, inspiration and ideation. In the 21st Century, companies need to proactively harness the power of social media, as one way to manage and grow their brand and propel their narrative. Be Social. Lead Social!