Why social media marketing needs to be a cultural undertaking

Posted on:13. 03. 2016

By Luke Nottingham

As it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out businesses have finally established social media as a fundamental part of their digital marketing plans. This is of course a great and necessary step in making your brand or business relevant but how many businesses are doing it right? For my money, a criminally small number.

This next phrase is important in working out whether you are one of the few or not: if you are not getting your staff to be social media ambassadors for your brand you may as well pack up and go home. You may want to print that out and have it hanging in every corner of your office - you're welcome!

We come across far too many businesses owners and marketing directors who are keen to implement some kind of social media strategy into their overall business plans but fail to realise the extent to which being involved on social media actually will transform the way their businesses must operate. 

The challenge of social media marketing - and perhaps where it is viewed incorrectly by ever so slightly naive businesses seniority - is that it is not simply a role to be filled. Rather, social media marketing is a culture that needs to be implemented. A business needs to find ways to fully integrate social media into everything they do - whether that is internally or externally for marketing purposes.

It is often thought that you can simply hire a couple of young and relatively inexperienced people on the cheap to run a company’s social media accounts and then for everything to be rosy and for sales and engagement in the brand to suddenly rocket. Well, reality check people…it just doesn’t work like that. The reality is that if you want to do social media – you are ALL going to have to be involved to some extent.

The main criticism that I tend to receive here is that social media - when used poorly - can play a key part in disrupting a business's brand and may actually do irreparable harm. This is absolutely true. My response is simple, don't hire morons! You trust your sales people to go our every day to represent the brand, you trust your marketeers to get on the phone, to generate content and create business relationships. Why on earth do people suddenly get so squeamish about social media being given free reign? Fear of change, fear of the reality that this is the present and probably is the future too (the immediate future anyway). Just like any other facet or division within your business, social media needs to be managed by a central figure, a moderator that will make decisions on best practices and clear up mistakes or at worse - messes.

You need to generate a culture in which every member of your staff can manage an account of their own where they can share content internally or externally created, post thoughts (as long as it is in line with the company values and specialism) and relevant white papers, links to partners and generally non-toxic, informal but professional posts that give a distinctively human view of your business. We are NOT 'our jobs' as some dinosaurs will tell you - rather our roles are us insofar as the person precedes the job.  

In 2016 it is imperative that a workforce is perceived as human. This probably has something to do with our fear and anxiety around our increasing reliance on technology - but I won't go into that here.

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