Within B2B marketing environments, organisations are commonly challenged with 3 Ps relating to social media; people, process and platforms. Of these, people present the greatest risk to their employer on social media. Processes and platforms typically are there to reduce risk of social media activity, they streamline management, drive efficiency and deliver greater.
Within a social environment, people offer the greatest value but also the most risk to an organisation. The first step is to train all users and stakeholders on appropriate use of the channel. There is also a growing trend of social business communities, where individual employees actively speak and engage on behalf of the brand across social media. Sales, HR, Customer services, product and R&D all have benefits in adopting social media as a regular channel of communication. With such a diverse pool of social media users monitoring activity is critical in maintaining brand and driving best practises, however, time spent doing this can be almost a never-ending pit. Automated approvals when terms or phrases are flagged, along with reports when buzz activity breaks a threshold are effective ways of being notified when attention is required – all without restricting user activity.
In order to drive efficiency and consistency in execution process is required at an organisational level. After training, a process is the next step to reduce in social media management. However, in diverse organisations driving adherence is near impossible. If the process is automatically built into the platform, then adoption is far greater as usability is simplified for users. There is no uncertainty of what they need to do next, or when they need to ask for approval, everything is simplified. Time is saved as multiple systems, or tracking sheets, or internal communications are removed to follow process.
Whilst having the people and process in place to implement effective social media communications and management is one thing, the value in doing so is usually held through a platform. A platform should empower users to not be micro-managed but equally only allow appropriate levels of access and rights. This also includes managing passwords and access across departments, teams and regions. The platform should also underpin the process, acting to enforce it is followed throughout teams and departments. Finally, real-time reporting and monitoring should provide actionable insight, all helping to shape business decisions. Management should be able to see an enterprise-wide view, whilst specialist teams on information relevant for their needs.
As with any businesses, the value is the sum of input cost and output. In adopting the right platform for social media management value is added to both the people using it and the process in executing it – not to mention a single source of information. As a B2B marketing agency, secure, efficient and insightful social media management across multiple clients is critical, and selecting the right platform is vital in achieving this.
Greg Dorban is a Demand Generation professional helping global companies to create more opportunities. He is Head of Inbound Marketing with strategic consultation on search, social, web, conversion and content at Ledger Bennett, a specialist B2B agency. Follow him on Twitter @gregdorban or Google+ GregDorban. He uses CrowdControlHQ social media management platform.