Despite BPs best efforts to turn the backlash of public opinion against it in the US, they have to date, been just about as successful as they have in their attempts to stop the torrent of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. However this plays out, will the fact they have been open and timely in updating all of their social media channels make a blind bit of difference?
The plain fact is that social media is but one part of how a company presents its brands to the outside world. But this must also be supported by ‘living the brand’. In other words, not having a corporate social responsibility that pays lip service to *authenticity*, but is actually believed and lived by employees at every level and location.
Leaving the BP’s woes aside, an excellent way of getting employees to think and act responsibly is to implement an open internal communications policy and to employ the mindset of social media ie open and transparent in a bespoke solution that suits your business needs. Despite company’s and people’s fears about being exposed, the benefits are manifold. Shared knowledge, learning, innovative thinking. People who would not normally come into contact communicating. And the business benefits are clear: cost savings in areas such as less face to face meetings and increased profitability through innovative working and creative thought leadership. As the saying goes, a great idea doesn’t mind who owns it. Perhaps BP should be employing its social media channels to ask the public for solutions...
A group holiday planner that lets friends to coordinate vacations via their social networking sites is a brilliant example of what social networking does best. Yet this week’s announcement by Easyjet that the budget carrier plans to add e-commerce functionality to its Facebook page illustrates a paradigm shift in how social media is now viewed by mainstream marketeers.
Many brands have long since abandoned campaign sites for their Facebook pages. The strategy is obvious – why not talk to loyal customers who know your brand and like your product, rather than start from scratch each time and it certainly makes marketing budgets stretch farther.
But how do you bring all of your social marketing efforts together, to manage, measure and evaluate return on investment more successfully? Webjam’s social networking platform is a perfect ‘hub’ that enables you to do just that. Intended to complement all other social networking channels; it enables you push messages from a variety of sources spanning: corporate blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and specialist channels in a branded environment. It also provides a perfect ‘single point of contact’ for Comms, Marketing and HR directors to find out what team members are saying in a single ‘console’ – illustrating an important other benefit of Webjam, time saving.
Reports this week that Twitter is to launch ad. serving in search results have received mixed responses from brands, with Paul Troy, Barclaycard's global head of advertising quoted in NMA as saying: " Advertising on Twitter will feel like your social media strategy has failed." While Ciaran Norris, head of social media at Mindshare says: "Brands will definitely want to try this ... brands will want to test how they can connect with people."
What is clear is that as more brands will get on board with the commercial reality of social media - and treat it as a viable marketing channel in its own right - engaging in the social media space, whether through strategic use of enterprise social networks such as Webjam or advertising with social media channels. Note the phenomenal success of Facebook advertising in the last year, as brands are better able to target customers based on their stated interest, marketeers are less and less inclined to throw money at PPC.
And brands are starting to get tangible sales success via social media. At last week's Social Media for Brand Building event Sony's Head of Corporate Communications, Nick Sharples attributed £1million sales to the brand's Twitter account, adding that Sony sees Twitter as a viable sales platform as well as a tool to amplify PR.