Employers: Social media is your friend


It’s the new year and I’ve been having some discussions lately about if companies should allow employees to build a brand on social media.
Should they be allowed to talk about products and services? Will this not take away from our spotlight?

My opinion remains clear. Not only should everyone have an online presence, everyone should also work on it and use it for networking. Companies who limit their employees’ use of social media are losing out on establishing brand ambassadors and creating an employee advocacy network. The greatest thing that can happen to your company (and your brand) is that your employees are enthusiastic to talk about it. According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer
an employee advocate is two times more trusted than a CEO. Employers have an enormous opportunity to engage and capitalize on these powerful advocates, or risk missing out on an important group of supporters. Allow employees to spread your content – the effect can often be much greater than through your own distribution channels.

But what about drawing the line between private and professional (is the next question I am getting)?

If all you do is post about your company, everyone will think you do not have a life (or a personality). So do a bit of both. The nice thing about using social media as a person is that you have a human face. So write about your interests, post about your travels, your favorite food, your cat (well maybe limit the cat posts ūüôā Genuine posts are more important than marketing language.

Companies should not worry that lines will be blurred. Tell your employees that they should clearly brand their online posts as personal and their own (for instance, on their Twitter profile). And let them know (even though they probably already do) not to post confidential information, legal issues, strategies. For all this (and more) there are social media policies and guidelines (take a look at Dell or Adidas for inspiration).

And remember:

People build relationships with people, not companies.


Social Media requires integration

Social media has not only had a major influence on society, but also on business, disrupting organizations for the past 10 years. Today, more and more companies have integrated social media into their marketing communications as a means of customer engagement. Now that the basics have been mastered, it no longer is about scaling social engagement but rather about focussing on partnering inwards as well as outwards.

Social media requires leadership

A social media strategy needs to work across the organization, across silos, support the company’s digital vision and requires new levels of employee engagement and advocacy. To be able to do this, strong leadership is needed to move social media beyond marketing communication and to create a true social business vision.

Altimeter has released a new analysis on “The 2015 State of Social Business: Priorities Shift from Scaling to Integrating” based on interviews with thought leaders, brands, technology vendors and a survey of 113 strategists (social, digital and/or heads of social) at companies with more than 250 employees.

Here are the most important findings in one infographic:




Living in a Digital Economy with Analog Boards

analogIt’s been a while since my last blog – summer is turning out to be busier than I thought!¬†Russell Reynolds Associates 2012 Study of Digital Directors did catch my eye this month though.

In today’s world, the CEO should also be the chief digital visionary in order to be able to lead the company’s digital transformation. And if this is not yet the case, companies – large and small – definitely need to start building their digital capabilities in order to remain competitive in this ever increasing technological environment. It was not surprising to read that almost all of the “highly digital” boards were in the U.S, with only two in Europe and none in Asia.

Technology is creating new ecosystems and opportunities. And these opportunities also demand the need for thoughtful investments. So in order to fully take adavantage of what our new digital world has to offer, CEOs and management boards need to start to adapt.

It’s time for management to become digital visionaries!

Yes, you need a content strategy!

contentMarketing products and services through smart and relevant online content is an absolute must nowadays. And yes, before you start creating content, it is absolutely vital that you you have a strategy in place.

It is about a systematic approach with which you can manage content across all channels, on- and offline, ensuring that you reach all customers. Developing a strategy will also allow you to create the type of content that your target audience is looking for and give you the opportunity to build thought leadership in your community.

When developing a strategy make sure to define why you are creating content and who you are creating it for. Do you know the information needs of your target audience and how they consume content?  Take the opportunity to see if your current content is creating the results that you expect or if readjustment need to be made.

If it is done correctly, a content strategy will help you analyze the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. And you will provide your customers with something of value. And that in turn will translate into more engagement, more leads and stronger customer relationships.

Does one really need skills to be a social media manager?

apeWhile I have been working in marketing and communications for a very long time, social media was not always around. Everything I know relating to social media is something that I have taught myself and have learned by working with and for different clients. And it does not stop there. Technology, metrics, SEO, you name it are developing at incredible speeds meaning having to constantly stay on top of the latest developments. It certainly is not something anyone can teach you overnight (even if there are many companies out there, making a quick buck offering certified social media professional courses).

I notice many businesses underestimate what it means to deliver good social media. It takes time and expertise. It demands lots of different skills like networking, planning and strategy, understanding the customer and the business, writing skills, analytics,¬†commitment¬†and focus, just to name a few. And very important is also experience. I certainly would not trust a new college graduate or trainee to handle my business’ social media activities. You need a strong grounding in marketing communications.¬†You need to¬†understand¬†the industry, its products and have customer facing skills to deal with what social media is all about: engagement. Engaging with community for a business needs to be be strategically driven. And this works best if you are a marketing strategist who can oversee the complete picture. If you believe social media success is about having tons of followers then you are walking down the wrong path.

But enough on this topic. Sailing season is starting and I am off to the boat in bella Italia! Ciao.