Social Media Day: How Has Your Organization Evolved?

10 Social Media Organizational Attributes

Happy Second Social Media Day! While marketers, PR experts, social media professionals and business executives may differ in how they define social media, they’d all agree that social media has changed how products and services are marketed. In the past year, social media has evolved from a small marketing test to an integral part of the marketing plan that enables a business to achieve its goals. Further, it’s difficult for firms to claim that they can’t participate when the IRS, the police and hospitals participate on social media in positive ways to increase engagement with the public.

Here are ten elements that distinguish social media as it’s currently implemented in businesses and organizations.

  1. Requires effective brand monitoring. From a marketing and messaging perspective, it’s important to have the best brand monitoring your firm can afford to track and listen to the conversation and respond to mentions where appropriate. (Note: In reality, only about 2% of mentions require interaction.) On a related note, firms need to create and implement social media guidelines and a crisis management plan to decisively engage when and where it’s necessary. Firms also should develop a social media contingency plan to ensure continuous coverege when social media lead(s) are out of the office.
  2. Determines critical brand attributes and provides brand guidance. As brand concierges, marketers are responsible for determining the key brand elements and related images and associations to aid positioning which Trout and Ries’ defined as the battle for your consumers’ mind.
  3. Drives content creation across the purchase process. Social media is driven by content and the context of the message. Social media has extended company engagement across the purchase process. In particular, social media has underscored the value of customer ratings and reviews as well as the need for post-purchase support.
  4. Increases the efficiency and velocity of markets. Social media has facilitated the speed and distribution of information sharing. As a result, it’s much easier for consumers to get competitive pricing information. For businesses, this translates to lower prices and thinner margins.
  5. Must be integrated across your organization. As social media usage matures, it needs to be incorporated into your organizational activities. In particular, understand that anywhere you have a presence, prospects and customers will use it to resolve customer service issues. Social media can be used for other areas of your business as well.
  6. Involves dedicated head count. Social media isn’t a program you start and put on autopilot. It requires real people who understand your business and brand, who’re trained to respond and interact with the public. Many companies find that, at a minimum, you need a social media manager although the job may span a few different job titles.
  7. Has transformed organizations. In particular, social media requires that businesses have a greater level of transparency, particularly in their public interactions. Understand that this doesn’t require a tell-all approach.
  8. Embraces consumer engagement.  In the social media ecosystem, customer engagement is needed. Among the most effective forms of social media is social sharing where content is shared across platforms and networks. This helps disperse your marketing message at no cost.
  9. Requires financial resources. Contrary to the belief that social media is free, social media requires funding to cover the cost of the people who implement your social media plan and the cost of content creation and distribution.
  10. Needs metrics tied to its strategic goals. As social media continues to evolve and become integrated into your marketing plans, it requires metrics that are tied to your marketing goals.

At the heart of social media is the ability to build social relationships with prospects and customers  by listening and actively participating in the social media ecosystem. As social media evolves, marketers must be involved and adapt to the changing landscape.

Are there any other elements that you’d add to this list? If so, what are they?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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