Social media – Raising the Bar

Blog by Julian Summerhayes. 627 words

Consistency is key in the delivery of services.

Starbucks.

Costa.

McDonalds.

Indeed, any business franchise model.

Yes there is a lot of grunt when it comes to advertising, PR and marketing but, quintessentially, the bedrock of the most successful franchise model is consistency of user/purchaser experience.

Some may disagree but if social media is to establish itself as more than just a necessary add on to your website, then you have a duty to consider how you raise the bar so there is consistency of experience. I am not suggesting that you continually play it safe and go for the middle ground, but you need to give consideration to the level of knowledge, expertise and engagement across the business.

It’s no good relying on your stalwarts. You won’t scale your efforts.

You need to paint a picture where the whole enterprise has an established presence, and everyone knows what is expected of them.

What I envisage is a centre of EXCELLENCE where every person is required/compelled to go through a course so that they understand the importance of social media to the business. It is not a case of inducting people but making sure that they can go back to their desks and get on with it, safely, responsibly and effectively.

It’s 101 stuff (or it should be): Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging (just think how long these platforms have been around).

And once you have a cohort of semi-pros you then need to raise the bar by challenging each person to make the most of the opportunities available to them building on the strategic objectives for their department.

Don’t disregard people on age. Luddites are so inclined because they chose to be that way. And I don’t buy the contrary argument that they are good enough because they are billing. So what? If you are going to expect more junior people to embrace and run with the paradigm, then why should they be let off the hook (you haven’t retired your learning just yet)?

If you raise the bar then it will shine through like nothing else. Just imagine a business like Zappos who have adopted a Honeycomb model for social media. At the moment, it is unclear if any model is being adopted. It feels like part command and control. Part hub and spoke and the some wishy washy, we-are-not-really-sure approach.

There is also a great opportunity for firms to leverage their expertise. If, as I suggest, they develop a centre of EXCELLENCE, then everyone will have a role in developing remarkable content, cross referring that and syndicating across whichever platforms you are using.

For this to happen social media needs a budget. Up to now too few businesses have limped along and not committed seriously to the paradigm. If you are going to unlock the collateral then you need to sit down and work out the cost. You can expect costs to arise in website development, training and branding. Don’t think you can get away with anything less. Even the small things like Twitter profiles need to be thought through.

Of course, before you can raise the bar, you need to know where you are setting it. Don’t set it so low that no one bothers but don’t expect without investment for there to be a revolutionary change. One step at a time.

The thing is if you get buy in then the whole business will be begin to take on a whole new dimension. One that is much more client/consumer facing, and that can only be a good thing. And for heaven’s sake try to keep things human. If all you ever do is focus on the brand then you may just find that you go backwards in your development.

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