There are several reasons your company has decided to use social media. For some companies, it’s to improve relationships and communication internally, while other companies use social media to recruit employees to the company. Most companies are interested in using social media to improve the bottom line. Here are some of the benefits social media can lend your company in each of these situations:
Using social media internally
Social media can be used internally to improve communication across business functions and help your employees build a sense of camaraderie around the office. It is also a useful method for collaborating quickly and independent of location. Yet another use of social media is documenting conversations, discussions, and decisions to be used later in performance reviews or decision case studies.
The benefits of using social media beyond its usage mainly revolve around costs. For a start-up or a small to mid-sized business, social media may be a very cost-effective solution to other software packages on the market. Many of the typical social media tools have closed-network business solution counterparts. For example, the business version of Twitter is an application called Yammer, and like Twitter, it’s free to use.
Using social media to reach potential employees
Human resources professionals use social media to build the employer brand of the company and sell the company as a preferred place of employment. Human resources professionals use social media to monitor their company’s brand for damage control. With websites like The Vault and PayScale allowing employees to “tell-all” about their former jobs, brand management is more important than ever for HR professionals. Finally, they can also use social media to research candidates and learn more about them beyond what is featured on a resume or in a cover letter.
Similar to using social media internally, using social media to recruit potential employees is cost-effective. Rather than purchasing expensive postings on Monster or CareerBuilder, human resources professionals can post the job requisite on LinkedIn. Human resources professionals have formed several online groups to discuss HR issues, provide general career advice to hopeful job candidates or professionals dealing with difficult situations.
Using social media to reach end-consumers
There are so many ways to use social media to communicate with the customer, and as social media goes mainstream companies are finding new ways every day. All of these purposes for communication fall into three main functions: public relations and marketing, sales, and customer services. Each of these three usages will be discussed in detail at a later point.
Before your company goes any further with social media, it’s important to decide what the goal is. Your company may want to use social media for one, two, or all three of these purposes, and the strategies and tactics for each purpose are different. For the remainder of this book, we will primarily discuss strategy and tactics for using social media to reach customers; however, the frameworks and case studies may be adapted to suit any other needs your company may have for social media.