Social media marketing is a misnomer because these efforts should not be limited to your organization’s marketing staff. In many companies, marketing departments spearhead social media efforts, but successful execution involves many groups, including sales, customer service, multiple brand or product teams, recruiting, IT, legal, compliance, and partners, such as your affiliates, resellers, and your PR agency (see Figure 2). Because it is your customers and not
you driving the conversations on Facebook, you never know where the conversation will go. This means that all hands need to be on deck to continually engage fans and be ready to respond in real time.
Understand that social media will naturally break down barriers in your organization. Take, for example, a negative customer post on your Facebook Page about a defective product purchased from your company. Though the customer issue itself might need to be resolved through your support department, the issue might also require action by your product development and PR teams. Does your company have the systems, policies, and procedures to address
these complex workflow requirements in real time?
Customers view your organization as a single entity. They expect a consistent and cohesive experience across all their interactions with your various departments. They do not know or care about the politics or communication gaps within your company. And they are not going to wait around to see whether your company figures out Facebook.
Facebook is the ultimate test of an organization’s ability to collaborate,
communicate, and coordinate internally and externally across multiple different
groups, each of which plays an important role in providing an exceptional customer
In addition to cross-functional collaboration, successful social media execution requires coordination and education up and down the chain of command:
► Executives—Executives need to set the social media priority and agenda for the company. It’s tremendously
valuable for executives to take the time to understand and learn social media for themselves, even if day-to-day Facebook marketing efforts are generally delegated to frontline employees. Staying close to the customer voice allows
executives to determine where social media fits best in the organization, communicate strategic goals, allocate adequate budget and resources, and ensure all the right teams are involved internally. In fact, a growing number of
executives (most often CEOs and VPs of Marketing) are even creating public profiles as a further means of connecting with and providing updates to customers, investors, and press. In a world where people are growing increasingly accustomed to “following” celebrities and CEOs, companies can build emotional loyalty by nurturing a sense of personal connection to corporate leadership. These social network updates often feel more personal and credible, even though in many cases they are crafted behind the scenes by PR staff.
► Line managers—Successful execution on Facebook requires aligning social media efforts with existing digital and offline strategies, building business cases for executive buy-in, and proving out return on investment (ROI). The
real-time and highly transparent nature of Facebook initiatives are forcing mid-level managers to adapt to a rapidly changing technology environment while educating and managing both up and down the chain of command.
The good news is social media provides a wealth of careerdefining opportunities. Managers who invest in leading and defining these efforts can have a tremendous impact on the organization.
► Corporate employees—Chances are good that a large number of your employees are on Facebook, at minimum for personal use and in some cases on behalf of your company. These employees represent your brand. It is therefore imperative that corporate establish and communicate clear policies and guidelines on who is allowed to participate and what’s okay to share, as well as put systems in place to track these conversations.
Just about everyone in your organization can benefit from some level of Facebook education. This is why a growing number of companies, such as Zappos, are even incorporating social media training into new hire orientation. Employees should also be encouraged to follow brands they like and to experience Facebook marketing as a consumer. This helps them understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of corporate social media campaigns so they can develop a more authentic brand voice. If 2010 was the year you started wondering if you could afford to educate your
employees about Facebook, then 2011 will be the year you’ll be asking yourself whether you can afford not to.