Corporations tend to fragment specific tasks, and for good reason. Efficiency requires structural fragmentation, a calibrated process to move along something as complex as a large company, a living organism complete with working parts. Each department has its mandate and performs within the bounds of its directives, whether it’s marketing, compliance, communications, or accounting. But, as proven studies have shown that companies require cross-departmental collaboration to harness competitive innovation, such is the magic formula for also harnessing the exponential power of social media.
Some executives believe social media is merely a fad, a tool that inherently knows no bounds and therefore cannot be controlled. Others perceive a nominal value in its use and delegate it to the marketing or public relations department. Neither approach captures the potential of a company’s ability to leverage social media to fit its purpose. Leveraging social media is an operational mechanism, not merely a marketing tool. Every department and all levels of a company must engage collaboratively to facilitate and market its products, services and ethos. Social media is another channel to facilitate such collaboration. It provides each layer of a company, including the C Suite, an opportunity to engage internally and externally with its vendors, customers, advisors, stakeholders and constituents. If deployed strategically, social media can transform and export the brand of a company, changing an entire audience’s perception.
This doesn’t merely apply to technology or consumer or retail; traditional professional services such as banking, law and finance can benefit from sophisticated, yet regulated, use of social media as a means to improve corporate image, find client referrals, or opine about a large merger to showcase professional prowess on a truly democratized platform.
The advent of social media should not be taken as antagonist to corporate culture. Every company’s strategic arsenal should include social media as an organic dialogue to further embody the spirit and letter of its purpose. There is no company in the world that doesn’t include in its purpose a quality-oriented focus, whether the company is a service provider or a product developer. Social media must be weaved into the company culture as an expression of what the company does well – what it’s known for.
Social media however cannot be compartmentalized. Social media must be diffused across internal corporate barriers, yet involve each division in its implementation. Corporations are inherent social aggregators that must connect to its audience in a relevant way. Social media is a natural extension of that, carrying the message with even more visibility and impact than traditional media to a niche, but highly engaged and loyal audience. And it’ll cost less.
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