Social Media is transforming the way the world does business. Today the implications are huge and the prizes are enormous for those businesses and individuals who use social media correctly. However, only a few organizations can actually show tangible results for their efforts on social media. Why? Most organizations jumped into the social media bandwagon without a strategy, a budget to sustain it, and a dedicated social media team!
Social media marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers. So how and why are most companies not taking the full advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? Most companies have outsourced management of part or the whole of social media to agencies and individuals while others have hired interns to handle their brands & companies.
You need to hire a social media manager, coordinator, and community manager etc.- whichever name you give the position to spearhead your efforts and ensure your presence makes business sense to YOU! Here are a few reasons you may consider creating this role/job in your organization.
1. Social Media Belongs to the Whole Business.
When I like a brand or follow a company on Twitter I am connecting to the business for a reason/s which varies amongst various social media users. Is your business providing a variety of content/information when and in formats that all these users need it? Do they find it valuable and reliable? Is it provided in a timely manner? Who have you given the task to be your ‘voice’ on social media?
Social media is customer service, sales, HR, legal, research, development PR & communications, and marketing all combined so you need someone with the right mix of skills who understands what it takes to shoulder the communication of a brand on social media. Firms need to have a professional with the right skills and experience to ensure a return on investment in their social media efforts! Most of the social media is under corporate communications and PR while others use it for marketing. However, there’s something in it for every department in your organization on social media. You can do a customer survey, hire and recruit talent through social media, showcase products and services, handle inquiries, get people involved in your CSR activities, the sales department may use it for prospecting and sales! You need a social media manager to ensure all these departments benefit from social media channels.
2. Emphasis on the Manager- Not an Intern
A lot of companies think that hiring an intern (an unpaid one at that) to create a social media presence can get them instant kudos online. Since no one cares or understands what the intern does when it comes to doing the reports, the ‘social media guy’ becomes both the accountant and the auditor of his work! Why? If he says you are doing well, he will pull up data and evidence to show that!
Hire a manager to be the backbone for your social media team and then focus on the interns to bring in and train. Also, having a manager is extremely helpful when you need someone to be accountable for major responsibilities and overseeing daily up-to-date content. In the end, the winner is content; good, sharable and consumer-driven content will allow you to have a broader spectrum of information thus an easier way to connect with your key stakeholders and community online! So do you have a content strategy? Do you have a team to create, share, distribute, optimize, and manage this content? All this needs a manager!
3. The Workload!
Managing social media corporate accounts can be overwhelming as it is a 24/7/365 days job! It’s not something an organization should take a break from, you need consistency and monitoring brands and conversations around your campaign and brand touch points. In most cases you need a content plan, a breakdown and a maintenance schedule for these platforms. For busy accounts, you need a team to work in shifts especially where you do customer care on social media. By content I don’t mean posting motivational quotes on a Monday morning and TGIF on Friday to engage users!! (What do users learn about your business from quotes?). Social media is now part of the search engines, people are looking for information daily about products or services that you offer.
One or two people cannot engage and manage day to day execution as well as draft, edit, and post content across all online channels. You need a social media team with defined job descriptions and working under a manager to plan, formulate strategy, monitor social media, spot trends, disseminate reports to various business units to guide decision making, review tools and advice the business on adoption, train staff on communication on new media and be tasked with managing brand reputation on social media. You need someone who can handle blogger relations and outreach, keep tabs on the influencers and track conversations on blogs, message boards and basically the whole social media space. That needs a social media manager!
4. Presence Vs Integration
Creating a facebook page is establishing presence which doesn’t mean that the firm has integrated social media into their business! An organization needs a social media manager to assist in coordinating special events e.g. launches, sponsorships, CSR events etc as such information needs to be shared with the community. So you need a manager to formulate a pre, during and post launch activities and communication strategies. You need someone who integrates the media plan, PR plan and the experiential activities planned to his plan on social media. The manager should also be a close liaison with other departments in the organization and agencies to help integrate social media into their efforts. The social media manager should also help integrate corporate communications into social media in support of the overall communications objectives of the firm. The feedback received on social media also needs to be analyzed and shared with various departments as per the needs of each. This way an organization can say they have integrated social media into their business!
5. Social Media isn’t a FAD!
For the first time in history, media technology, tools, and channels for sharing information has been disrupted and open for true global collaboration, while effectively changing how people interact with each other. Social media has changed and continues to shape the way we exchange of information, share content and add to it as well as pass it on and discuss ideas. It is influencing the business of how and what media and brands communicate thus redefining how companies respond to the marketplace, including customers, stakeholders, and influencers. To put it bluntly, social media is a complete change in the way we communicate and it’s here to stay so whether you have a natural fear of it remember your customer is already there. Worse or better still the conversation takes place with or without you! I think it’s safe to say that companies investing in better connecting with their customers now will most definitely have an advantage over those that wait and see what happens to this social media thing. So you need to set up a robust social media team today to exploit this massive opportunity and that needs a leader to set it up!
6. You Need Some Plan And Order!
A company Facebook page and Twitter handle or a corporate blog isn’t a personal profile where you post ‘when something comes to your mind’. Do you have a social media policy with laid out guidelines on what should be posted and how? Do you have a maintenance schedule? This isn’t something that you post when you feel like or when you have the time! Do you know who you want to reach out to? What is their age? How will you engage them? Do you know their touch points? Do you understand how and when they consume new media? What are their habits and reasons? What information do they want? How will social media help you achieve your business objectives? Do you have a strategy and a plan? Where do you start? A social media manager and his team will help you answer these questions and guide strategy execution and implementation. You shouldn’t take social media casually anymore- please!
7. The Rules Have Changed!
The old-school marketers were used to one-way marketing communication, and unfortunately that approach doesn’t work on social media! The old school guys were used to the “me me me” marketing where they paid to play, they bought attention (Experiential efforts, PR, ad space on newspapers, TV and OOH) with a huge budget! With social media you can’t buy attention anymore. Now you get back what you authentically put in-content is king so they say! Social media isn’t much of a technology that you need to learn but a conversation that you can join and be part of and better still know how to trigger one! It’s not much about what you type in on the 140 characters but the ‘when, why, how and to whom’.
With a social media manager and a team, then a business can put a department into task to explain the spending on social media and the ROI. Let the marketing managers and brand managers handle what they know best and get a social media manager to do what he or she understands! Digital, mobile, and social media agencies will also find it easy to work with a manager who understands a bit of what they do!
8. The Growth of Social Media in Kenya.
Social networking has become integral to the lives of many (research shows it’s harder to resist than sex), users of social media represent the influential and economically able section of the population (Your customers, clients, prospects, suppliers, leads, networks etc). Today we no longer search for news, content and information, instead our friends and followers continually push them to us on social media.
This growth of social media in business and communication in globally presents an opportunity as well as a serious risk to your business. However, whether or not you are active doing the right thing on social media the conversation goes on with or without you! If there’s a storm erupting via blogs, your customers will expect you to respond via those same blogs, not via a carefully-worded press release 4 days later. If there’s a crisis on Twitter regarding your product or service then you need to listen and respond via the same platform! Social media presents you a great opportunity to create and share content in various multimedia formats that can be consumed on multiple screens so why don’t you want to fully exploit this opportunity? Why do you want to tiptoe into it? You need to get it RIGHT now or just leave! It’s pointless to be using social media if you only have it because everybody else does! HIRE A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER NOW!
Muthuri Kinyamu is a Social Media Strategist at Social Edge Africa based in Nairobi; his company also introduced @SocialPROclubs (social media clubs for universities in Kenya) and you can follow him on Twitter @KenyanMarketer
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