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Social media - Marketing and IT need to talk

02 June 2014 | 01:38 am

24005825_sMarketing teams across the UK have embraced the social media revolution, increasing their use of social media tools almost daily. However, many have not considered the IT implications of this and as usage grows the need for dialogue with the IT department becomes evermore vital.

Increasing use of social media can be a risky business. Many businesses are now using it for customer service as well as for marketing as it is cost effective and more efficient. Organisations who are using social media to support service delivery have found a marked improvement in how problems are solved and have been able to build a much stronger rapport between their business and their customer.

However, many of these would admit that it is often hard to integrate social media tools into the IT infrastructure. Tablets, phones and laptops are easy ways to post or tweet but are not necessarily covered by IT security policies. The unmanaged introduction of new devices and alternative approaches to service and support –far from offering quick solutions - can actually add to the workload.

In addition to the issues around devices there are other risks involved around social media, including password sharing.  IT protocol around passwords for using the company’s IT system may not have been applied for social media. If you have IT policies in place then you will need to discuss with the IT department how these can be adapted for social media use. With organisations now having multiple accounts with multiple users it could mean there are dozens of passwords with no central control. An IT manager’s nightmare!

It is therefore wise to communicate with IT as usage grows. There will come a time when you will look to invest in a social media management tool and IT will certainly need to be part of that decision. Any new software will need to be compatible with existing systems and include features that marketing may not consider but are a priority for IT.

Social media managers are the experts in their field and although many senior IT service managers may only have a passing knowledge of social media they do need to be involved in decisions that impact on technology use within the business. Social media risk management and compliance systems will go a long way to assuaging their fears and IT professionals will recognise the benefit to risk management of such an investment.

Get IT on your side and it may be easier to persuade your finance team that the investment is a good one and it could be shared between departments, thus helping to reduce your own departmental spend.