Social media tools provide a huge opportunity for every business to improve communications and create and share relevant, useful and timely information.
Look both ways
But if you look at job adverts for social media manager roles, you’ll notice that they are mostly positioned in the marketing team and are customer-facing. That’s fine in as far as it goes.
But what about looking the other way? By that I mean looking into the organisation and using social media tools throughout the business. One person, in one department servicing one part of the company’s audience (customers) looks like a limited approach.
It becomes even more limiting when you consider the organisation’s experts and expertise are a resource whose thoughts, experiences and knowledge could add so much more value to colleagues, customers and the supply chain.
This is particularly so when organisitions are looking to create and share authoritative, authentic content. The best authors are the subject experts – they are the ones their colleagues in the business, supply chain and the customers want to hear from.
This is everyone’s problem
I was part of an interesting discussion recently in which experienced digital journalists were highlighting the fact that social media/digital content jobs are going to ‘digital natives’ – those who have grown up with digital (25 and under). One comment was eye-catching – that middle and senior managers see social as not their problem so they just want to bring in people who can do it.
It helps also that digital natives are cheaper to hire than people with 10-plus years’ experience of digital content but what was worrying, if true, is the idea that twenty-somethings will be handed the organisation’s social media tasks.
Digital natives bring a lot of new ideas, ways of thinking and skills into the business, but our thinking needs to get beyond this social silo and stereotype. This is where the gold lies for organisations. But it will take more investment and pain now to achieve those greater rewards. Think of it like that and you begin to understand why a short-term fix looks so seductive.
Every organisation has its experts (including their marketing experts!) and social tools can help identify them and enable them to share relevant information. And by doing so, more knowledge is actually kept within the organisation.
I was asked recently about my approach to helping organisations with these issues. My view is that organisations need to look within to find the people who can deliver and share relevant content. I would help with that. Giving this to one team within the organisation or farming it out to an external provider although useful in the short-term may not provide the longer-term value.