Social Media: Friend or Foe?

19 Feb

As a Public Relations student, and member of Generation Y, I believe every company can be using social media! However, some company CEOs view the maintenance of social media websites as a lot of trouble, with little return. Their focus is numbers and many times it’s difficult to quantify the impact of activity across various social platforms.

In a podcast I recently listened to from a Ragan Communications Conference; Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, plays the role of an executive who is unsure if social media is right for his organization while a panel tries to answer his questions on the adoption of social media and communication channels.  The panel consisted of David Biesack from SAS, Shel Holtz from Ragan Communications, Vida Killian from Dell, Terry McKenzie from Sun Microsystems, and Jim Ylisela from Ragan Communications.

Blogs?

The panel jump started on the topic of blogs. Although blogs do involve a commitment of creating posts, they allow customers to have a conversation with the company and it builds relationships and brand loyalty. Something I learned was that blogs also allow the company to be more transparent to their customers because it exposes the people of the corporation. Transparency in return builds trust! Although there is a chance that customers may post negative comments, one of the panelists stated, “There is no such thing as bad publicity”.

Negative Website?

Another question that was brought up was what to do if a website arises that shines negative light on your company? Mark Ragan asked if he should get his lawyers on it and write cease and desist letters. Surprisingly, the panel said that he should not do that because then the publicity would come back that the wealthier, more powerful man shut down the “little guy”. Instead, what the company should issue a response to the website.

Employees?

One of the great points brought up was about employee retention rate and keeping your employees happy! Many times, companies only focus on their customers because that is where their revenue is coming. They believe they will keep their employees as long as they are getting a paycheck from the company. However, looking at ROI, it costs a lot of money to replace an employee because of the training period and such. Dell came up with an internal site called EmployeeStorm in which employees can post their ideas with their name attached and the company can then take the top ideas posted and make changes necessary.

Although many times, the benefit of social media for a company isn’t easily quantifiable, it does not mean that it isn’t impactful. To hear this entire podcast follow this link!

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