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Applying Social Media for Business

In order to apply social media for business: pull yourself out of the marketing buzz.

This article gives a starting framework for developing a departmental matrix for on-going social media initiatives that is focused on revenue and business goals. It addresses the driving factors of why people make decisions and use certain tools (without focusing on what the specific decision or tool is.)

Social media isn’t the ‘one size fits all’ solution for business.
It isn’t really a solution for business at all.

Social media is an evolution of how people communicate.

We search, we share, we socialize.

Read more

social media metrics

Social Media Metrics and Site Traffic

A good part of your online strategy revolves around where and when relevant audiences are engaging.

In order to help our own clients at Epiphany Metrics, we’ve collected a variety of data points for a fast way to look through evolving social media metrics and walking those data points through corporate social media training processes.

The audience numbers only reveal one cog (out of hundreds) that executives need to think about when designing an effective social media strategy.

Th following snapshot gives us the June 2012 metrics for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest. The are hundreds of other social sites and tools that fall into different niches, but these core five are the first layer of conversation for most organizations. Read more

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Corporate Social Media Training Tools

Here is a method of having an actionable conversation about corporate social media training within your organization and how you can develop a better understanding of cross-departmental benefits.

The Business Case

One of the biggest problems with corporate social media is that departmental teams fail to think outside the project box they are looking at.

This often means that they are trying to force a square cog (social media)  into a round hole (the immediate project requirements.)

The core issue with this is that we are not dealing with square cogs and round holes.

We are dealing with a conversation about the way dozens of different pieces plug into a limitless number of business scenarios.
The simple reality is that most people don’t have a deep understanding of available solutions and force the incorrect assumptions into place.

While we want to categorize social media into something we can either adopt or dismiss, we need to think about how the term ‘social media’ is has been used to improperly label innovation within the corporate structure. Most of us like to think of social media as a ‘digital marketing’ channel and as a ‘buzz’ phrase connecting to PR and word-of-mouth. In many cases  we compound the issue by grouping it with web design, graphic arts, and online advertising.

Social media is the  generalized term for ‘all things belonging to the web’ ….

We need to first agree on what social media is and is not.

We need a process for clarity…

What matters is that you can sit down with a project team and agree what is and is not in the scope of your project.

The Visual Solution

Imagine your team has fifty different components it needs to consider for you net project. These components can range from business process points including customer service and product design, to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Each one of these components is going to be placed into a circle on a basic diagram.

The sample below demonstrates 50+ items that could go into a conversation about launching a new product.

corporate social media training

 

The idea behind the process is fairly simple: while the sample has 50+ components we could be dealing with anywhere from two to a hundred items.

Identifying Categories

While we may have brainstormed 50+ items for our project team, we can easily group together like-minded items that belong to the same general niche within the project.

By taking the above items I’ve broken out some groupings for a conversation about my next social project.

  • Social Media Content Types
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Search Engines
  • Location Based Elements
  • Technology / IT issues
  • Business Unit Considerations
  • Business Validation 
  • Market Intelligence

 corporate social business training

What Social Media Is and Is Not

One of the most important steps of having this information on one sheet of paper is to identify what is and is not included in the current business conversation. It is critical to purposely remove an item from the conversation instead of assuming it is not included.

  • Removing it means everyone knows about it.
  • Assuming it means someone may not know it even exists.

Simply take your conversation map out and cross off any topics that are not involved in the current project scope. Before any item is removed from the conversation it should be confirmed that everyone in the decision making team actually knows what it is!

corporate social business training

Exercise #1 – Discovering Areas of Impact

Once you have 3-4 categories established, print out a few copies of the circles on paper and cut them apart.

During your group conversation you should practice moving through several areas of forced ideation:

  • randomly pull three to five circles and detail how the five elements interact.
  • take the same three to five circles and detail best case scenario and worse case scenario
  • take three to five circles and detail employee, management, and executive perspective
  • take three to five circles and detail internal (sales, marketing, HR) vs external (customer, prospect, market) perspective

Exercise #2 – Identifying Areas of Education

Pull out a pen and rate each circle from 1 to 5 based upon the expertise and understanding of the people within the decision making conversation.

  1. limited knowledge, no practical hands-on experience
  2. casual understanding, basic understanding
  3. recurring monthly experience, familiarity with daily usage
  4. can recite best practices to others, strong understanding of topic
  5. expert understanding, forward looking perspective, can relate topic to business impacts

During the rating process you should maintain a heavy bias towards any decision that is made using a sphere of expertise that uses a 1,2, or 3 rating.  A rating of 1 to 3 means that your group has a restricted view of the topics being affected and you are making a blind decision about the risks, benefits, and revenue impacts.

On-going Tests

While the two sample exercises above only introduce some of the basic areas of conversation you need to engage in, the basic framework above helps to identify your strengths and weaknesses concerning digital projects.

By understanding what topics overlap and what your core knowledge is surrounding those elements you can seek out and recruit subject matter experts to assist in making the right decisions.

When you develop you understanding of critical elements your understanding of social media and new technology being adopted into your business will quickly touch on hundreds of areas that have substantial business impacts. This will highlight where your corporate social media training initiatives can help reach tactical battles and strategic initiatives.

 

Social Media Policies Series

As part of dealing with a number of decision makers in different communication roles I have been covered the core concepts of what social media policies cover.

This is not a simple topic. The truth of the matter is that social media policies cover dozens of different business models and processes. These policies also change depending on different federal and state regulation issues, along with niche industry compliance ramifications.

Over on our main blog at 123socialmedia.com – I’ve begun breaking out a these policy articles into a framework of elements to browse. A good thing to keep in mind is that these policy issues are really talking about how you do business in the digital sense: It is how consumers and vendors work with you. It is how journalist engage with you. It is how investors track your progress.

If you don’t have social media policies in place already, don’t be afraid. These articles will help you out. Read more