The demand for social media has no end in sight. Yet, every new social media network seems to take us by surprise as we try to invent new ways to “engage”. The business mantra of doing “more with less” was coined long before we knew the extent and implications of satisfying multiple internal departments and their social media reporting needs. Each department’s “imposition” eats into our budgets and ultimately leaves fewer resources on the table to do what we really want as an organization.
The irony is that if we look a little deeper into how the business operates we might find that we have some of the work done already. By adopting a more holistic approach to social media marketing we can reduce costs and even create a competitive advantage.
To develop a social media strategy that tackles multiple departments it must be structured to take advantage of standardized processes as well as disciplines already established within the organization. This creates synergy and avoids reinventing the wheel each time a new social media network comes into the fold.
Social media networks – the facts
Our observations show that social media marketing is mostly operating in silos, meaning it is extremely difficult to achieve a holistic view of ongoing activities at the higher levels within an organization.
Since a business is made up of so many moving parts, getting data quality right is often a fundamental challenge from a business requirement. Often because of insufficient focus, it becomes even more of a challenge from a social data gathering perspective.
The current approaches fail to incorporate social data as part of an overall strategy. Organizations continue to develop multiple (and disparate) processes without establishing the linkages to other social business processes. Social media monitoring (and its associated costs) continues to be high and we see businesses continue to challenge their understanding of key requirements and invest more time and effort post-social search.
As a result of these issues, significant effort is spent in creating “evidence” of engagement after the initial investment in social readiness. This type of activity invariably distracts focus from business-as-usual activities and decreases overall department productivity.
Getting it right – commitment to social assurance
This approach requires greater social business sponsorship and senior management commitment and leads to the following best practice:
· Greater social business involvement means better control over department outcomes — social assurance is the end-goal
· Standardization of processes, social data and requirements gathering and delivery approaches means better management and control and as a result, the risk of siloed social reporting is lowered
· Reduced overall cost and effort associated with social media monitoring
If implemented correctly, social assurance programs will lead to increased business as well as increased executive confidence.
Why social assurance?
The ability to review requirements across the full set of departments on a proactive basis means we turn the cost of social media monitoring into a re-usable asset, which can be leveraged for competitive edge. By providing integrated social processes, standards and policies across all moving parts, we put business units in the driving seat and provide the following advantages:
· A unified view of the social geographic and cross-business impacts of department requirements
· Longer term confidence around interpretation and implementation of key departmental needs
· The ability to see the road ahead and plan the customer journey with minimum disruption
· Social reputational management with customers, investors, employees and executives
Ultimately, a holistic approach to social media monitoring evidence will overcome barriers in providing the right information to the right stakeholders and at the same time help solve complex operational and department-related issues.
While cost-cutting and budgetary requirements may make us feel that we are alone, if we spend more holistically, our businesses can operate in a more balanced way.