This article was originally posted on IABC Calgary’s blog on March 20, 2012. Yup, I’m getting more involved with my professional association!
Social media for business – this isn’t your typical Facebook page
When I started with my current employer last June, the organization was really just getting started in social media. They had a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but a concrete strategy hadn’t been developed yet. When I was asked to help develop the strategy, I thought to myself “this will be a piece of cake! I’ve got a Facebook page and I tweet, how hard can it be to do it for a business?”
Needless to say, I quickly learned it’s not that simple. Like any good communications plan, we needed to figure out who our audience was and what they wanted to hear from us. We needed to figure out if we really had anything valuable to say, because we all know telling our audience what we had for lunch or posting a video of an employee’s cat drinking from the tap just wasn’t going to cut it. We were already posting the organization’s new job postings, but was that what our followers wanted? Are people using Twitter to find a job?
It was time for our group to really figure out what our followers wanted to hear, and to hammer out what we wanted to say. Our organization deals with a lot of different stakeholders, so we decided we should start sharing information about upcoming open houses. Our organization also plays a big part in providing an essential service for people across the province, so we started to share information about the value of that service, how we help to maintain the high quality of life Albertans enjoy today, and how we will be there to keep up with our province’s growth into the future.
Our goal in every tweet, wall post, or Flickr photo we share is to demonstrate to our fans and followers the value of what we do, and to reinforce that we touch many aspects of their lives, even if most people don’t even think about where our service comes from.
Developing a social media strategy is not an easy process, and since the nature of social media is fluid and innovative, we strive to ensure our organization maintains its adaptability and open-mindedness to try the next new tool or platform that comes along (if it works for our business); we are prepared to modify our strategy if we see something that isn’t working. It’s also important to keep learning about new techniques and platforms that are available. A colleague and I just completed the IABC online course “Developing and Implementing an Integrative Approach to Social Media for Organizations,” which was hosted by Shel Holtz and Joe Thornley. We are very excited to apply what we learned in the course to our social media endeavours at our organization.
Stay tuned to learn about our new ideas and progress in implementing them.