The biggest problem businesses have is to make using social media profitable. In their minds there is no reason for doing anything unless something can be achieved from it.
The idea of happily interacting with your potential customers, colleagues and alliances is alien. What’s the point of idly chatting? Is all this useless banter necessary? Why should anybody be bored with publicity about what has been done or what is happening at the moment?
And then there’s the question of whether to use social media for awareness strategies, or to gain followers that can be used to promote to. There’s no point in obtaining lots of ‘likes’ on a Facebook page if there is no communication with these new targets, and get them to visit the website for something important.
The corporate I work for sees Facebook as a potential for getting more traffic to specific pages on their website. It is an awareness campaign, combined with interactive connected programming that converts ‘likes’ to fill in a form to win a ‘prize’, join up to a special scheme that is currently running, find out more about the product and those that provide it, and then regularly communicated to about these features.
Twitter is seen as a research tool and to monitor what is being said about them. This will lead onto responses to either react to requests and questions, combat bad press, or publicise the standard corporate message carefully constructed by the compliance team.
Blogs are carefully monitored, not only the content of each post, but the comments that arise from them. The method of delivery is strictly controlled, thus only a few exist, and on particular subjects. And the platforms used are invariably internal, and on inferior systems.
Internally there is a lot of social media interactiveness. A platform that simulates Twitter allows communication within delegates within such a large organisation spread over many countries and time zones. Subject matter is explored, promoted and prompted. Questions are asked and, depending on the nature, comments abound. Sometimes quite spirited conversations arise and banter is struck up, depending on the relationship and status of the contributors. Unfortunately it can be tainted by self-important opinions, supported by linked evidence, that can destroy well-meant discussions.
A more personal IM (instant messaging) service has a lot of possibilities, especially as it’s a lot faster then emailing. Quick fire responses can be fun and entertaining, as well as profitable in obtaining vital information. And it’s a lot cheaper and more private than a telephone conversation.
Wikis and sharing sites, particularly for documentation and learning environments, all play an important part in corporate life. A lot of information needs to be available to anyone who is eligible to see it, and the ability to enter a particular point to find what you need can be very useful and convenient.