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Unsocial Media: Get your teams talking

23rd November 2015 | Phil Mennie

Unsocial Media: Get your teams talking

This may seem like an odd contradiction, but in many of the organisations with which I’ve worked social media is really not that social. Teams across the organisation engage in social media, but don’t talk to each other internally. In this post I’ll explain why this is bad and show you how to get your teams talking again. 

If this sounds familiar, rest assured, you’re not alone! It’s a common issue because of the way that social media has grown organically within most businesses. Often the marketing department started dabbling with social media to advertise the business’s products and services. But, slowly and surely, other teams have jumped on the bandwagon. This has led to the complicated mix of platforms and stakeholders that we see nowadays in many companies.

Today, it’s not uncommon for many departments to be running their own social media programmes and initiatives. Each with their own strategy, policies, training and tools. Typically, marketing, customer services, HR, sales, IT, public relations, communications, legal, risk and compliance are in the mix in some shape or form.

The organisations I work with understand the benefits of social media. Advertising their products and services, increasing market share or improving customer or employee engagement. But many of them haven't given much thought to how they’ll actually get the most out of social media. This presents a few key risks:

Duplication of effort and resource
It’s not uncommon for there to be people performing almost identical roles. What’s more, they are often recreating the wheel each time when they could instead leverage the work done by colleagues. 

Mixed messages
When teams are connecting with social media users in siloes they sometimes send out mixed messages, which can cause confusion. It can also lead to users feeling bombarded or spammed. 

The wrong tools are used
Instead of investing in a comprehensive tool which meet the organisation’s needs, each team invests in their own cheaper solution which doesn't meet all of their needs but is “good enough”. This doesn’t save any money and just adds to the complexity. 

Uncertainty over the success of the programme
It's difficult for senior management to assess the success of your social media programmes. Metrics and KPIs are not standardised across the business, making it difficult to compare and evaluate performance. 

It’s difficult to respond to a crisis
Crises happen and there’s usually no way of predicting them. When the worst happens, organisations need to know how to respond. Their communications are a critical part of a crisis response. Without proper coordination the response will be slow and ineffective. What’s more, it may do more harm than good!

To overcome this and get your teams working together, towards a common goal, you need to implement some governance over social media.

Your first two steps should be:

1. Get a senior sponsor
The sponsor will be accountable for social media and will give leadership direction to your social media programme. They will have overall responsibility over what your organisation does with social media. They’ll champion the use of social media at the most senior levels of your organisation and ensure that your programme gets the budget it needs.

2. Create working groups
Bring the representatives from each team together on a regular basis. Set up a weekly working group where you can discuss and coordinate your current activities. This is also an effective forum to collaborate on updates to key pieces of documentation, such as your social media policy and guidelines.

These tips are not particularly onerous or time consuming, but the benefits are significant. Putting these simple steps into practice is the first stage of successful governance and risk management.

Do you struggle to get people working together at your organisation? What are the tactics that have worked for you?
This topic, and many others, are covered in Social Media Risk and Governance: Managing Enterprise Risk. Order your copy today to ensure your marketing campaigns are authentic and address digital risk.


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