MANAGING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR A TANGLED COMPANY STRUCTURE
I’ve been recently tasked with bringing structure, organization and meaning to a company that has multiple operations in different locations. This led me to consider some points worth sharing. If, like me, you have a case where you’re dealing with the communication of a company that speaks to different target groups on different markets under different brand names, here are couple thoughts you may wish to consider:
- Companies effectively are groups of people. A group of companies, or a number of brands under the a complicated structure, it can pose difficult for people who wish to find out more about a company – the media, potential customers, shareholders, investors, employees. They should be able to see a clear structure of ownership and leadership. Corporate website is static and dead. LinkedIn is the platform to be when conveying this message, with updated, live communication of leaders that show legit network of employees, partners, contractors, suppliers, customers. The profiles should be linked to LinkedIn Company Pages and other Social Media platforms.
- LinkedIn Company Pages. Again, in a complicated structure, it is easy to get drowned in a system of various companies that might have previously re-branded, joined or divided or maintain some affiliation, and the overall impression might be a deep forest that you roam endlessly like if you have passed an erratic boulder. Using ‘LinkedIn Showcase Pages’ allows you to manage the communication agendas of related but separate companies and to connect employees while promoting different topics using LinkedIn advertising system. Making it easier for ‘outsiders’ to see the difference between the parent-child company structure. A headquarter and a branch for example.
- Facebook Communication. My personal advice would be to allow each location to manage their own Facebook page (or have a professional company manage it). Sure, you can dedicated certain, low percentage of posts of mutual support, but bear in mind that fans of one location are seldom fans of other location. You maybe love the Starbucks shop that you are passing every morning while commuting in Bangkok, but that does not make you interested in the newly opened store in Manila. There is a reason why McDonald's plans to enroll 14 500 Facebook Pages by 2015. On top, consider different product ranges, prices, taxation, languages (language targeting on Facebook Pages simply does not work) and time zones.
Twitter. Company profiles are step one. Step two is connecting these to humans - personal profiles. As very often personal profiles such as company leaders (think Richard Brandson), brand ambassadors or hired celebrities can be way more influential than the company profile itself, the most important thing in my opinion is to keep the structure very disciplined. The goal is that the peripheries support the mother ship, not the the company is promoting personal profiles. Sure, I am in favor of mutual win win situation, but the brand should be the leader, not the individual. A good example of a disciplined, bottom-up system is the Ultimate Fighting Championship Twitter account and related accounts of its athletes.
As with anything, there has to be clear communication regarding topics, agendas or personal responsibilities etc…
Oh, let’s not forget implementing a Customer Care system for your social media platforms. That’s a topic for another day...