Enterprise Social Media: what does it involve?

By June 22, 2017

Enterprise social media teamMany organisations bestow their social media channels to the tech savvy intern or recent marketing graduate. Many of which have been delivering social media as though it were their own personal accounts, rather than a valuable enterprise asset with revenue generating potential and impact on customer satisfaction. This approach has left many organisations open to a multitude of risks on social media.

With the social networks themselves being forced to grow up in public and evolve into a sustainable revenue stream, organisations have also had to evolve their social media delivery to cater for a complex set of requirements, and as a result ‘Enterprise Social Media’ has been developed. But what does it involve?

“Enterprise social media is how a complex organisation with multiple audiences and varied objectives efficiently arranges itself to deliver one-to-one, one-to-many & many-to-many communication across the digital landscape.”

The dynamic nature of social media unlike any other communications channel enables organisations to directly reach out to their customers or community on an individual basis but also on mass, and vice versa, giving customers the unique opportunity to share their opinions on a public stage. With a 2.5x increase in the number of tweets directed at brands in just the last two years (Harvard Business Review), it’s a channel that organisations cannot afford to ignore, and requires investment, resource and training in order to be delivered effectively.

A complex organisation can range from an automotive dealership to a multi-national bank, the complexity refers to the multitude of objectives, audiences, stakeholders, teams and locations, that could and should be taken into consideration. Making the challenge of establishing a consistent (and importantly customer friendly) social media presence a tall order. This blog explains how enterprise social media can deliver a complex organisation’s objectives and help drive the bottom line.

Multiple objectives for social media

The first thing to consider when adopting an enterprise social media approach is to understand the core business objectives of the organisation. Often the priority of these objectives can vary across departments ranging from driving sales, social media engagement from local communities, to increasing efficiencies in customer service. By understanding the business objectives you can ensure that your social media is contributing towards them (helping to demonstrate Return On Investment in the long run).

Multiple audiences on social media

Marketeers will often challenge organisations to narrow their target audience in order to create an effective campaign, however when your organisation has multiple products, brands and services (such as a cars, FMCG, healthcare, the list goes on), this can be a real challenge! Ensuring that you have a clear handle on your core audiences is vital for an effective enterprise social media strategy it will help define the channels that you use. For example, if you are targeting male over 55 then you do not need an Instagram channel no matter how pretty the pictures! It’s important to identify where your audience are spending their time, how they like to consume their media (visual, text, auditory) and when they are most likely to be using social media. This may mean that you have different social media channels to promote different brands, products or services — adding to the complexity of the infrastructure. Samsung USA are a great example of this, adopting a hybrid approach with a multitude of channels representing the Samsung brand (@SamsungService @SamsungTweets @SamsungMobileUS). Having a social media management platform in place can enable your organisation to seamlessly manage multiple accounts from a single dashboard.

Multiple teams using social media

In order to deliver enterprise social media effectively, it needs to become engrained within your organisation’s DNA and supported by your employees from top to bottom. This can often mean that there are hundreds of people accessing the corporate social media channels with the power to post out to the public at the press of a button. When accessing the native social media channels directly, a password will have been shared widely throughout the organisation and there is no audit trail for content that is posted, and therefore no accountability is something goes wrong (or right!). One of the first steps before rolling out an enterprise social media approach is identifying which teams will be accessing the social media accounts, how they will collaborate on social media, and implementing workflows for different scenarios. For example, in the event of a crisis, will content be signed off by a senior manager? Putting policies in place can go a long way in protecting your organisation from potential risks and give your team the confidence to deliver engaging social media content.

Multiple locations using social media

Having multiple teams accessing your organisation’s corporate social media channels may also mean that they are doing so from a multitude of locations, making it difficult to manage and ensure consistency in delivery. By developing an enterprise social media strategy, which clearly defines the different audiences, tone of voice, personality and content requirements for each of the social media channels will ensure that all of the teams across multiple locations are singing off the same hymn sheet.

High-risk vs. high reward

A recent study reported that a third of marketers said that multi-channel campaigns proved successful and that they are using at least three social media channels to deliver their messages. In addition it was reported that 70% of adults say their purchasing decision is influenced by content that they see shared online. As a result, social media is beginning to dominate marketing budgets plus it’s ability to track and record results is further cementing it’s position on the communications landscape. However, this opportunity does come with its risks, which if left un-managed can become costly, which British Airways, McDonalds and IHOP have recently discovered. That said, a robust enterprise social media strategy, supported by an enterprise social media management platform can help you to increase revenue and deliver a quality experience for your customers.

If you have any questions, would like to discuss the different factors of enterprise social media, or would like support in adopting an enterprise social media strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our Enterprise Social Media Specialists for an informal chat.