At our Vancouver PR agency we have been working with several clients to define social media usage policies and strategies. While each organization is different – and the policies and strategies need to reflect that – it is interesting to see the trends in how social media is being perceived and use today. It is certainly more commonplace as organizations from government to large private companies to small businesses move towards integrating social media into their overall marketing and communications outreach. For some organizations it appears that throughout the organization – including the senior executive – there is a better understanding that social media can’t be controlled. That’s an important shift and one that is opening up new approaches to social media.
I came across this interesting case study on how Texas Instruments works with employees to help them understand social media and their role online. This U.S.-based organization is providing training for employees, helping them to become conversation agents.
There is a balance that needs to happen for social media to work in any size organization. In a larger one, it does take some additional planning. There is an expectation that those participating in social media on behalf of an organization or brand will have some freedom to be themselves, to share information and stories about the organization and their role there, and to authentically engage. As important as that it, it is also crucial that anyone representing your brand or organization understands what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you don’t let employees know what is ok to share and what isn’t, you aren’t providing them with the proper knowledge to participate effectively on social media sites.
What happens when 100 or 1000 people are social media ambassadors for your organization? How can a communications team make sure that valuable, relevant, interesting information is being shared? That’s where training and planning comes in. A great outreach campaign isn’t random, it’s effective and efficient – and great content needs to be planned out. This doesn’t mean that individuals can’t be themselves, but it means that they aren’t tripping over each other and they are providing information that matter to stakeholders – which is the main reason you are using social media, right?
Get organized, define your voice, identify your boundaries, plan out your content like a magazine or TV news show would and your stakeholders will be much more interested in what your organization has to say on social media sites.