Do I need a Group-wide Social Media Strategy?

Do I need a group-wide social media strategy?  This is a question I get asked quite often as a Social Media Consultant.  In working with Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies I can say that most of the time, especially for consumer facing brands, the answer is ‘yes’.

The question I always get asked is ‘in what department should we put social media’?  Unfortunately it is not that simple.  Many say it goes in marketing, others say it should be put in customer service, other say corporate communications or public affairs, some say investor relations and some even say human resources.

Well the answer is… all those responses are correct.  Social Media is, or should be used in every one of these departments and more.

Each business is different, but it is good to have one person, typically at the Group level, such as a Group Head of Social Media in contact with each of the departments mentioned above to help coordinate all the social media efforts, keeping everything on brand.  This individual is responsible for creating social media policy, owns all the social media profile passwords, is part of the crisis team and is responsible for the overall company social media reputation monitoring.

Of course you will have social media experts throughout the business especially in customer care and marketing, but you will need to have these four basic principles set-up for your Group-wide social media strategy.

Social Media Monitoring (Corporate Comms, IR, HR and Crisis)

Good social media reputation monitoring is instrumental in helping you gain knowledge about what individuals are saying via social media about your products, services, brands and staff.  This enables you to learn how to better respond to customers, change marketing and advertising tactics and sadly, sometimes see what disgruntled employees are sharing via the various channels.  We also know that you are now more likely to hear about a crisis on social media before the traditional news channels, so social media monitoring is the fundamental cornerstone for any social media strategy, especially Group Communications. We even know that Investor Relations are using social media to help CEOs and CFOs learn what investors and analysts are saying about earning statements via social media, see my post ‘Social Media for Investor Relations… Really?’ for more information on this topic.

Social Media Campaigns (Marketing)

Social media campaigns must be integrated into your overall marketing mix, they are not stand alone marketing or PR tactics.  Use the data you find from your social media monitoring to help create innovative campaigns that are of interest to your target markets.  Whether you use an agency or in-house team, you must establish your business objectives, identify your target audience, create engaging and share-worthy content and finally, integrate your social media with all other aspects of your online presence.

Social Media Training

Believe it or not, not everyone understands social media.  You must train your staff on the do’s and don’ts of social media.  Every employee can be an advocate of your brand but sadly mistakes can happen.  Employees should never have a personal account linked with a business platform as the wrong post to the wrong account can severely damage a brand.  You must remember, nothing ever completely disappears on social media.  Staff training, coupled with a social media policy and tone of voice guide are instrumental in your overall social media strategy.

Social Media Customer Care (Customer Service)

I have seen time and time again companies try to apply the ‘call centre’ model to social media, and it simply does not work.  Your team has to be trained in all the workings of social media AND customer service.  Once you reply to that Tweet it is out there forever and a simple typo can wreak havoc on a company!    You also have the ability to proactively reach-out to people on social media. If you sell coffee and someone tweets ‘I could really use a coffee’, we reach out and offer them a voucher to try your coffee!

I hope you have found these tips helpful, and of course please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Social Media Brand Experts

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We are a world leading social media consultancy, marketing and customer care agency.  This blog will keep you up to date with relevant business social media industry news and tips on how to progress your company by using social media.

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