Continuing the topic of integrating social media tools into business operations, here we take a look at how to begin thinking about what that might look like.
If you’re looking at social media as a sales channel, you’re going to be very disappointed and give up, rightfully so. Instead, take the time to explore what it could mean to each of the functional areas within your company. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Sales team: Connect with clients, prospects, centers of influence. Share relevant articles and ideas with them, promote their activities, help them make necessary business connections with people you know. (Social makes amazing relationship management tools!)
Customer service: Answer client questions (obviously some things need to be off-line for privacy, but there are plenty of generic issues that arise), conduct employee communications for your clients (host a benefits communication platform for all client employees or feed that information for clients to post on their own platform), provide information on local issues that people need or might want to be aware – like risks and hazards, or health related events.
HR: Search the platforms for talent – find people who fit the profile for your ideal staff. Connect with them and keep a running pipeline of potential future employees. Find out what they like in an employer and in a job. Watch their interactions and see how they handle themselves. Be sure they know what’s happening in your company that makes it a great place to work.
Marketing: If you have a marketing person, they should be scouring the airwaves for any company mentions, industry trend discussions, conversations that are happening about any relevant topics – not necessarily about your agency (e.g., company benefits, open enrollment, wellness programs, hazard risk, business risk, etc.). Watch these conversations for trends, and gather ideas from the complaints and praises you hear.
CEO: This is a biggie. The CEO should definitely be participating online. In fact, if no one else does, it should be this person. The head of your company is the name, the face, the person most closely associated with the company. It’s such a great opportunity to have your top person talking online because your clients and prospects are able to make the direct connection with him/her, and from that, the CEO can then perform the most important role for your sales organization – rainmaker. They set the tone, share the company ideas, philosophy, values, culture and promote people within the company who are making it the great organization that it is.
Social media tools should be integrated into the big picture of what you're trying to accomplish. They should be tools you use as tactics to help you accomplish your strategic objectives, rather than "social" being the end game itself. There are as many ways to use these platforms as you can envision. And that’s a great place to start. Even if you’re already on Facebook or blogging or Tweeting, it would be beneficial to think about this, and have some team discussions for (new) ideas on how to connect with your audience instead of just talking at them.
I’d love to hear some ideas you’ve got on how to use social media effectively for your organization – feel free to share with the rest of us.
Coming up next in this series will be some ideas for getting a team together to tackle this business evolution.
Photo by Lenore Edman.