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Increase the strategic knowledge of social media in your personnel
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Increase the strategic knowledge of social media in your personnel

Social media has become an integrated part of the work of almost everyone who works with communications. However, we do not always remember that we should share responsibility in our organisations and at the same time increase the understanding that our staff has about the possibilities of social media for our organisation.

All organisations go through a certain kind of learning process when they create operational models and build common rules for social media marketing and communications.

First, all organisations have to take the first steps, when we learn how Facebook works and what we can do on Twitter. At the same time, we will get to know our audience. We start to find out who engages with our content and with whom we will be able to share discussions. At the same time, we find out which other actors are active with the same topics.

Once the the first steps are taken, organizations often end up in the ad hoc -way of working. Content for social media channels is created when enthusiasm and inspiration strikes, or when it seems that the Facebook page has been silent for too long.

When we want to improve the use of social media channels, we need to plan more and become goal-oriented. Many organisations have already succeeded in integrating social media into certain business processes, most commonly in communications and marketing.

The responsibility of social media actions should not only belong to one team. Contrariwise, the whole personnel should understand their role both in content creation but also as advocates for the organisation.

Social media creates opportunities for many different business areas and has specific effects on them. In other words, social media creates opportunities also for other areas than only communications and marketing. There are new opportunities for sales, customer service, recruitment, product development, project management, internal communications, and leadership that should not be lost. We can create demand, make the right choices and decisions in business, engage our customers, or respond in a way suitable for our tone-of-voice when the social situation requires action.

The open communication culture is a prerequisite for future success in the middle of the changes happening in the working life.

The proactive use of social media also requires that business units, management and experts understand the potential of these digital platforms. The use of social media is often started in communication or marketing, but understanding of the new possibilieties should be known also in other business areas.

As we share the broader understanding of social media in our organisations, we are able to use social media as a strategic tool. An open communication culture is a prerequisite for future success in the middle of the changes happening in the working life. It is important, however, to facilitate and support both experts, managers and leaders in developing online influence, but in addition to only having active employee ambassadors, our the new ways of working with social media should be integrated in our business processes.

Our organisation is only so good to take advantage of the opportunities of social network as good its weakest member is.

Do we communications and marketing professionals always remember that we often know and understand much more about social media interaction and digitalisation than the rest of our organisation?

For us, social media is an everyday channel, while others may still not be very familiar with it. If we want to exploit the opportunities that social media and open communication culture provide our organisation, we must remember to engage and engage the entire personnel in an agile way.

I know that for some, this seems like a huge obstacle, especially if the organisational culture does not in principle support transparency and self-initiated development work. We still need to tell that the world is changing, justify the causes, tell sories about he opportunities and engage the personnel in the content production.

The utilisation of social media will otherwise remain peripheral. It is important to involve people more in the content production of organisations social media channels, but they should also be active in their own channels and share their ideas. Thus, we can move towards the increasingly meaningful way of benefiting both from social media and from other digital opportunities that the technological development us brings.

This article is also published in Finnish in Viestijät, the blog of the Finnish Association of Communications Professionals.

20.06.2017