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Social Marketing Matters (Part 2 of 2)

So… the lessons from the IBM Marketing Matters event for local charities continue now (sorry for the delay to anyone who’s been waiting for this with bated breath).

tweet4To quote that BBC programme I’ve rather enjoyed lately – “The Honourable Woman” – who do you trust?  We do entrust (some of) our staff to talk to customers on the phone so why shouldn’t we trust them to tweet with them too?  It does depend on what you want to do of course.  You can have a twitter account for your organisation, and use that just to market to people with news of your events, fundraisers, products, and so on.  But it’s becoming clear that a twitter account that engages not just projects has more appeal.  It may feel like a risk, but it does add a human element, and can make you more approachable.  So, if someone asks you a question, or makes a comment about you on twitter it really is a good thing to reply with help or a comment or an opinion.

Going back to the risk element, it’s a good idea to have a set of policies or guidelines that such staff are trained in.  Way back when social media was starting to become popular – and before even I was on twitter – a group of IBMers took it upon themselves to create the IBM Social Computing Guidelines and these have become de facto in our organisation.  We’re all encouraged to use them, but anyone who is going to speak on behalf of IBM absolutely must stick by them, and we include that in the twitter bios for those accounts.  We always say, too, if you’re not sure how to respond to something, ask someone you trust (perhaps even a legal person) for some guidance.  I believe a quick reaction is always best, but far better a considered tweet which takes longer to send than a quick tweet, which will get you into a little bother in some way.  These guidelines apply to all social media; I happen to have talked more about Twitter here, but they apply to LinkedIn, Facebook, and many others you may choose to use.

Every employee can be a salesperson.  That is, I don’t tweet on behalf of IBM but I do choose to tweet about some of the more interesting things we do, some of our recent announcements, especially in the social business (not just social media) space.  And there are thousands of IBMers who do the same. So, it can be useful to have your staff discuss your organisation in social media from a personal perspective too.  As I mentioned above, it’s perhaps worth asking them to follow some guidelines too.  Just in case I do say something I haven’t exactly thought through, I make it clear in my Twitter bio that my opinions are mine, not IBM’s.  I should really change that, because sometimes I’m retweeting someone else’s opinion, which I may find interesting but may not share with them.  <Mental note: add to to do list.> 

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Work Life Balance? Firstly, from an organisational perspective, I’m going to go back to saying that in some channels – certainly Twitter – it can be useful to bring the human element to your interactions.  @HotChocoTrust was one of the attendees at our Marketing Matters workshop and I think the bio they crafted on the day is great.  

When it comes to tweeting as an individual, rather than on behalf of an organisation, I choose to mix work and pleasure in one twitter account because I think that makes me more human, and I prefer to follow others who do the same, but it’s not absolutely necessary.  In LinkedIn I’m far more likely to post about work-related things and to connect with people with whom I have some work experience. I keep Facebook for people who really are friends so those updates are usually more personal in nature.  For me Twitter combines the two (but with half an eye on making sure I don’t embarrass myself*).  This is not the rule by which you must stick, but I want to make it clear that is perfectly acceptable, probably even encouraged, to do this.

And there’s more.  Looking back at the day,there were lots of things I didn’t tweet about, such as having a plan for which social media channels to use, a strategy for who and how to engage using them, using tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to manage your channels from one place, and monitor interactions. 

As you become more mature in the use of social media there’s always the possibility of applying analytics to social media to get some actionable insight.  But that’s a blog post for another day.

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* Many years ago I used Twitter to complain about someone who was an hour and a half late to a meeting – his own meeting.  Several in the audience had managed to travel from Scotland to London and to be there on time, but he was coming from 10 minutes along the road.  I then followed the chap on Twitter.  This meant I drew his attention to my account, and to what I’d been saying.  We got an apology, which was nice, but it really wasn’t the cleverest thing I’d ever done.

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Social Marketing Matters (Part 1)

IBM’s a big fan of Corporate Social Responsibility (see our 2013 report) effots, but even if the company I work for wasn’t such a fan I still would be.

Yesterday we ran a social media workshop, called Marketing Matters, for charities local to Edinburgh.  It’s run in locations around the UK by various volunteers, and tends to get really positive feedback.  You can read more about it at the IBM website.  I was asked by a colleague if I would blog about the day, which I immediately agreed to, but on further contemplation it’s a whole day of learning so there could be a lot to include here: not so much a blog but a book!

So, I thought I’d blog based on the tweets I had chosen to post because I thought the points made were important.

About BrandWhat’s your brand?  We started by considering some famous brands, the enduring idea behind them, how they differentiate themselves, how their target demographic experiences that brand and what that demographic is.  The idea here is to start thinking more about how the volunteer, fundraiser, recipient, or other person experiences the charity.  Disney and Apple are two good brands to think about here; can you work out what their enduring ideas are?

Don't be left behindDon’t Get Left Behind.  When we started to think more about demographics, the people we want to engage using social media, there was a lot of discussion about who is on twitter and other social networks.  My gran is 91 and she uses facebook because it’s a great way for her to keep up to date with the family, so we can’t necessarily make too many assumptions about who does use social media.  I was about to type “there will always be people who shy away from twitter” but that may be a little too assumptive.  However, it is probably quite likely.  There will be some people who choose not to use certain social networks, but the world is increasingly moving towards them.  These people can be a great source of funding – as per the bare-faced selfie for Cancer Research, and the ice bucket challenge for ALS (MND) – and it would be a shame to miss them.  But we also talked about one target audience of volunteers likely being recent retirees who may have some time on their hands.  Perhaps LinkedIn would be a good place to find them given in recent years a large number of people have signed up to that social network for business purposes.

Follow, Listen, Act

Follow, Listen, Act.  Getting started in social media was a bit daunting for one or two in the room, and certainly experience varied across the different social networks.  We discussed that there is often nothing wrong with getting set up and, certainly from a twitter or instagram perspective, just starting to follow people or organisations we think could be interested in our own charity, have similar purposes, and so on.   “Listen” – which is really “read” – for a while and take in what is being said.  But don’t let that “while” be too long.  Start posting updates about what you are doing, start retweeting salient tweets, replying with an opinion.

Time constraints mean I have to continue this later… watch this space!

 

 

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