No One Puts Social Media in the Corner!

Every time I read an article or blog post that tells me how I should leverage social media as a tool in my “marketing toolbox,” I cringe a little. It’s true, historically the marketing department has often been tasked with developing and managing organizations’ social media programs. This connection is natural and understandable. The importance of maintaining a strong social media presence for marketing purposes is also well documented! But don’t be so quick to cram all social media tools into the corner of a little square box labeled “marketing.” When you begin to look at social and mobile platforms as toolboxes all their own—able to be implemented and operated in countless different ways—you begin to realize that creativity really is the only limiting factor. Here are few examples:

Customer Service. With great social power comes great responsibility for businesses. “We’re getting to the point now that if companies don’t respond [to social media feedback] they will have a black mark against them,” warns Inc. This is significant when you consider how many customer service opportunities are missed by organizations every day. Up to 70% of companies ignore customer complaints on Twitter—and that’s just one platform! Delivering service recovery and harvesting improvement ideas aren’t the only customer service functions that social media can support either. Responding to positive reviews, genuinely thanking customers and engaging with other individuals’ content are keys to developing a strong online community with a positive sentiment toward your company.

Human Resources. Over the past several years, there has been huge growth in the number of businesses using social media to attract and engage customers. More recently, HR departments have been hopping on board, using social networking tools like LinkedIn and apps like HireVue to connect with talented, highly-qualified employees. On the other end of the spectrum, candidates are using many of the same social channels to investigate and evaluate companies before applying. Savvy individuals are even using resources such as glassdoor.com to get the “real scoop” on employers from past employees. If you’re curious what social HR trends will take off in 2014, take a look at 2014: The Year Social HR Matters published in Forbes by Jeanne Meister.

Internal Communications. Effective internal communication is critically important to every business in every industry. Consider the possible benefits of utilizing an enterprise social network, such as Yammer, within your company.  Imagine employees quickly and easily asking each other questions and sharing ideas. Then envision a supervisor responding to a concern and posting a Happy Birthday message to a team member. The idea of building an internal community is really about fostering employee engagement, boosting workplace morale and reinforcing your company as a great place to work. In this article, Social Business News lays out a 5-step roadmap for harnessing the power of social media for internal business communication.

What are your thoughts about using social media beyond the standard marketing role? How have you seen companies utilize social media in creative ways? Send a tweet to @AHersh317 and keep the conversation going!