Studies indicate that an increasing number of businesses are in the early stages of adopting social media. Many of these, however, are not quite sure what to do with their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, or how to measure their effectiveness. In a challenging economic climate, when companies are focused on cash flow, management may question the value of social media activity. Who should be responsible for managing and updating these accounts, and what are the time and cost implications involved? As a result, programmes are often cancelled or fall into disuse.
In reality, corporate social media accounts are important two way channels of communication, both internally and externally. They are interactive, multidirectional and 24 / 7 dialogues that create external awareness and trust, and at the same time build brand reputation. Internally they enable employees to engage with customers and partners, sharing knowledge and building relationships. Therefore, having a unified strategy and structure is critical to gaining the maximum benefit from these shared dialogues.
Too often in a tough turnaround situation it is tempting to view social media as an unnecessary cost. We would suggest that instead it can be an extremely powerful business tool and, as such, should not be undervalued. Management would be wise to consider incorporating a proactive social media element into their overall business strategy, to better position themselves to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive market.