With 74% of Fortune Global 100 companies now having a Facebook page, the effective use of social media is essential for any business hoping to make it in today’s competitive market.
While we all recognise the importance of social media, many companies take a generic approach to marketing themselves online, without considering how a different, more innovative strategy might benefit and even transform their business.
A company’s online presence through its website, social media and other channels increasingly forms the basis of the organisation’s interaction with the outside world. It makes sense to pay as much attention to the architecture of your web presence as you do to designing or choosing a physical building to house your company, factory or retail outlets. This should be the outcome of strategic thinking, creativity and innovation.
One large corporation that has overthrown traditional social media marketing approaches for something innovative is computing giant IBM. Rather than using a corporate controlled social media interface like most corporations, IBM supports hundreds of employee ‘micro-blogs’, which are created and maintained freely by individuals without censorship from marketing departments or managers.
By taking this unusual and innovative approach, IBM aims to reflect the brand’s ethos of allowing employees to contribute their value directly to customers without interference from above. By doing so it creates an innovative and revolutionary flow of information that helps break down their staid market reputation.
Coca Cola, arguably the world’s most successful marketing machine have taken this a step further. Their global online marketing strategy calls for their creative units, staff and partners to insight public enthusiasm around the brand, and participates within rather than direct the public response they generate – flowing like liquid into the spaces they create.
If your social media marketing is struggling, it is worth thinking about how your brand interacts with the public. What makes you stand out from the rest of the voices clamoring for attention in the social media sphere? What is it about you that make you valued by your public and how can your online participation, and innovative use of technology amplify your strengths.
In order to make the most of your online and media presence you need to ensure all of your key operational leadership team are fully engaged. Don’t be fooled by simplified media stories – whilst many old-school constraints need to be lifted, there need to be a new generation of rules to govern the journey to your online future.
Online is the future of your brand, and the future of your business. Just as you wouldn’t allow your library staff to design your new office building, don’t leave junior staff alone in charge of your online presence!
Take a good look at your current online presence, then, following the global leaders, find the unique ways you can innovate to develop more meaningful and effective interaction with your consumers.
It’s less about spin and constant updates that don’t say anything real, and more about maintaining a conversation, and giving consumers insight into you, your products yours services, and what you represent.
Take your social media seriously and see it as an essential framework for your brand and business. In an increasingly competitive and noisy online world, innovation is the only way for businesses to make themselves heard.