Do I really need a social media department and where would it sit?

Social Media DepartmentThere are four core areas for social media within an Enterprise business; corporate communication, investor relations, customer care / service, and marketing.

So we get asked time and time again, ‘where does social media sit within my organisation’?  This is a perfectly good question.  Of course the right answer depends on a few variables such as the size of the business, is it consumer facing, structure of the marketing and customer care departments, and how you plan to use the power of social media for the company.

As a social media consultants we like to look at how social media can essentially help a business to strengthen or increase a positive brand awareness through customer interaction and then, how can it help sell the company’s products or services.

Corporate Communications:

Most publicly traded companies now have a corporate or ‘group’ website devoted to promoting their brand online that can also incorporate a group Twitter feed, as well as a blog and corporate and financial news sections. Most of these elements are now considered as standard. But let’s focus on the Twitter feed for a moment. Those corporations who have group Twitter feeds find that not only do customers follow them, but also investors, while the majority of the followers to the Group’s Twitter feed are trade publications and business press.   Your group Twitter feed is an excellent way to keep the media up-to-date on your latest successes, business decisions and strategy updates as well as overall company wins!

Investor Relations:

Believe it or not we see more now than ever an increasing trend in private investors and small equity firms influencing large analyst firms and financial institutions through their use of Social Media. Private investors with significant holdings are tweeting and posting to blogs their thoughts on performance and how they feel a given company is doing. A Social Media listening strategy or agency must be on hand for any forward-thinking investor relations department to provide daily analytics, sentiment, tone of investor related tweets or posts, as well as offering an executive summary of the mentions. A head of IR can then start to see trends and top influencers on social networks, and then accordingly build a strategy to engage with key individuals in the online space. This step is a must in the ongoing development of any investor relations strategy.

Customer Care / Service:

We 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’, you can reach out and offer them a voucher to try your coffee!

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.

As you can see, social media is making its way into a variety of departments within an Enterprise size organisation.  While many companies are now outsourcing their social media monitoring and in some cases their customer services, you do need to have an overarching structure to make sure that all areas that use social media are using the same tone of voice, and as such we suggest a social media specialist that sits at the group level of a business, many times called the ‘Group Head of Social Media’.  This individual must have an excellent understanding of social media, but more importantly the knowledge of how large businesses work, especially when it comes to integration of different areas of the business.

If you need help with how to integrate social media into your business, feel free to reach out to the SMBE team by tweeting to @SMB_Experts, calling +44 (0) 2031 029 690 or e-mailing query@socialmediabrandexperts.com!

About us and this blog

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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