Become a good soul, the Social Media will follow

Social Media Marketing, like most things new, have its early adopters, early embracers and a whole world of people vaguely aware of the term – blind men shooting in the darkness on a moonless night. It is simple; it is easy to use and in its simplicity, incomprehensible to the corporate honchos used to their reports – the more complex and unintelligible earning the most points.

To become social media integrated, our Corporates need to first accept the fact that it is a game changer and while they were busy doing their things, social media marketing has instituted a paradigm shift – not only in the way we will communicate but also how we will sell, build and maintain our reputations, brands in the future.

I was invited to the corner office of a midsized entity only the other day, ostensibly to enlighten the top boss about the advantages of getting wired. The gentleman, with one eye on the screen with scrolling stock market data and the other on a giant screen that snooped on each employee, was visibly uninterested.

To draw him into a conversation I enquired about his views about employee usage of the corporate bandwidth and was informed the obvious. That the system was firewalled and that the administrator’s duty was to keep a tight watch on employees accessing the social media from the office. How very reminiscent of the Control-Permit-Quota Raj!

Social media marketing or social media branding is not merely about having a company page in facebook. It is not also about adding a Twitter and a Google plus button at the bottom of your web page. It is about a holistic view – about looking at things in a completely new light.

To put things simply, Social Media Marketing is about engaging people who are interested in your brand or services and creating conversations around them. It is not about pompous and vainglorious statements as in traditional advertising, or the clever use of the media to turn the arch lights on the self. On the contrary, it is about real end users endorsing your goods / services to potential customers actually searching for such goods and services. It can be done by professionals who can SEO your presence so that you sink up in the search engines. They can also engage the potential customers in conversations on your behalf. But will they have the warmth a genuine concern of one of your employees – a proud member of your family?

The way out is simple. Drop those firewalls. Junk that giant screen that shows hemmed in, uninterested employees picking their noses. Begin by trusting them. The second step is obviously to train them and explain the social media policy of the entity. Let them roam in and rejuvenate your social media space.

Suppose you have a thousand followers in Twitter. In simple speak everything you post goes instantly to those thousand handhelds, laptops, whatever. Now suppose you have a thousand employees with just a hundred followers each. If you can enlist their support, your post will reach out, in an instant to a million!

Besides, disgruntled customers, employees with mischievous intent and competitors are all there in the social media space. What is more, more and more people are using the space to vent their pent up anger – wrath that can corrode your image even without you being aware of it. That is another reason why your employees should be encouraged to be there a thousand eyes, ears and voices are certainly better than one. So what’s stopping you, do a Helen of Troy – be that face that will launch a thousand tweets!

–          Chawm Ganguly

(the author is an acclaimed journalist, a PR pundit, a author, avid blogger and now an increasingly integrated social media evangelist – helping corporates to mark their presence felt tweet by tweet.)