infographic social media strategy
As adapted from the Sensis Media Report (details in reference list at the end of this post)

Is your business using social media to its fullest potential?

In a study conducted by Sensis Social Media Report in 2015, it showed that only 33% of Australian businesses have a social media presence. Furthermore, 80% of SMEs and 37% of large businesses, that have a social media presence,  have not developed a strategic plan for their social media. This highlights how social media has yet to be fully utilised by many Australian businesses today.

In this post, we will talk about what SMN strategy is and why it’s important, resources on how to design a SMN strategy and organisational uses for SMN (both consumer-facing and enterprise facing).

What is SMN strategy and why should businesses be interested in it?

When we talk about SMN strategy, we are interested in how organisations can maximise value from social media by taking an enterprise perspective. As with any other technology or resource, it is important to be able to align the use of social media with business objectives and goals, develop metrics, execute the plan, monitor these metrics and adjust accordingly in order to meet these objectives.

However, social media is a fairly new phenomenon for businesses, as evident by the fact that only 33% of Australian businesses have a social media presence online. Understandably, organisations are still experimenting with SMN; learning how they can engage customers and reap the benefits from it.

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Source: Sensis Social Media Report (2015)

As businesses experiment and learn about SMN, slowly they are adopting a strategic stance with their social media platforms. As seen in the infographic, a strategic plan becomes more common as the size of the business increases. By taking a more planned and strategic approach to SMN use, it can help organisations to achieve incremental, but sustained, value from SMN over time.

Designing a SMN Strategy

However, even when organisations develop a social media strategy, it can still fail for various reasons.

To address these failures, there are a few considerations that businesses need to take into account:

  • What are the business objectives?
  • Who are the current and potential customers?
  • What social media platforms are they using? Why?
  • What skills and capabilities do we have in place to deliver content/service through this platform? What additional skills and capabilities do we need?

In addition to these questions, there are government resources for companies who are looking to design their SMN strategy.

Organisational uses for SMN

Consumer-focused SMN

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Source: Sensis Social Media Report

Consistently, Facebook is the most used social media platform for small, medium and large enterprises – closely followed by Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social media platforms are primarily used as a two-way communication system between businesses and organisations. Social media enables businesses to maintain an online presence to engage customers, as well as allowing businesses to collect valuable customer data, such as customer sentiment and measures to gauge the effectiveness of marketing campaigns etc.

On consumer-focused social media platforms, customer interactions are highly visible and the result can either have a positive or a negative effect on a company.

What does consumer-focused SMN mean for IT departments in organisations?

A key concern for organisations using social media platforms is regulating access to these platforms. There have been many instances where, either accidentally or intentionally, staff or external hackers have posted non-approved content to corporate social media accounts. For businesses, it can be detrimental to their brand image and reputation. There have been a few infamous instances that have been covered in the media. 

Hence, it is important for organisations to manage access rights to these customer-facing platforms and have a plan on how to regain control and contain the damage from these unauthorised posts.

Enterprise-focused SMN

The main purpose for the use of enterprise-focused platforms is to help connect employees together inside the organisation. It can help facilitate a broader and more open flow of ideas and information, potentially bypassing formal organisation hierarchies and information flows.

This is an example sourced from the Microsoft Yammer customer stories page:

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In next week’s post, we will talk about how enterprise architecture enables integration with social media platforms, such as Yammer, and other analytics tools.

Sources:

Business.gov.au. (2014). Social Media Plan Template and Guide | business.gov.au. [online] Available at: http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/templates-and-downloads/social-media-template-and-guide/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed 6 May 2016].

Pitney, T. (2015). Optus Social Media Team Own The Internet With A+ Responses To Haters Of Arabic Language Posters | TheVine. [online] TheVine. Available at: http://thevine.com.au/news/optus-social-media-team-own-the-internet-with-a-responses-to-haters-of-arabic-language-posters/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016].

Sensis, (2015). Sensis Social Media Report May 2015. [online] Available at: https://www.sensis.com.au/assets/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2015.pdf [Accessed 15 Apr. 2016]. 

The Sydney Morning Herald. (2016). Woman finds big, alive spider in Woolworths salad mix. [online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/woman-finds-big-alive-spider-in-woolworths-salad-mix-20160205-gmmf6k.html [Accessed 17 Apr. 2016].


Do you think that a social media strategy is necessary? Tell us your thoughts below.

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