Social Media has Everything…but Professionalism

ImageEliza McCubbing’s Blog post last week titled “Social Media is not a Fad, it’s Here to Stay and it’s Time to Learn How to Use it Appropriately” raises some interesting points, and even more questions.

It is undeniable that organisations and companies who neglect their presence on social media platforms ultimately lack online relevancy. McCubbing in her blog draws on research from social media strategist Dionne Kasian-Lew, who states  “…only 30% of CEO’s are connected with social media.” There are a key underpinning factors which would explain these figures.

Firstly, social media has been consistently marketed at Gen-Y, pushing all the platforms which fall under that label into a category which is automatically deemed inappropriate for a professionals, or organisation. Many organisations are concerned that Facebook or Twitter are considered somewhat ‘lowbrow’ and not reflective of their, or their company’s professionalism.

Secondly, those organisations or professionals who endeavour to navigate through the somewhat unchartered waters, of Facebook and Twitter, run the common risk of an ineffective social media presence.

A social media page can be ineffective in a myriad of ways. Drawing on the oppositions of an effective social media page as cited by McCubbing, those pages could lack appropriate content, ineffective use of hash tags or links and quite simply, it could be lack of engagement.  The effectiveness of a social media page primarily relies on the appropriate use of medium. This is imperative when you consider professionals or organisations. So far it is safe to say that LinkedIn is the only social media platform catered to professionals and to organisations.

“4.7 million people are on LinkedIn” according to Curtis Tracey from Ogilvy and “…LinkedIn is one of the strongest social networks in the world.” However even when you consider a social media platform catering primarily to professionals, there is still a level of support needed because according to David Meerman Scott: “…only a small number of Public Relations Practitioners are effectively using blogs and other social media…” Those areas of support are a Social Marketer, Media Strategist and a Content Marketer.

This all begs the question however, despite an obvious lag in social media mediums being utilized effectively by professionals, which is well documented, how is it possible that there is only one primary professional social media platform?





It may pay to join the social club, but is it a trade off?

Web 2.0 has prompted interaction amongst Internet users generating content as well as corporate entities utilising marketing strategies, reaching unprecedented levels.

In a blog post by Andrew Baxter for Ogilvy, Why it pays to join the social club’ The Bank of Melbourne, KFC (Australia) and Officeworks, are used as examples of corporate entities, who are utilising Web 2.0 mediums to increase relationships with their publics and in turn, proven to increase their profitability.

With this extraordinary communication tool however, comes lack of content control, highlighting especially corporations and their communication teams including their Public Relation Practitioners.

It only takes a quick scan of both Officeworks and The Bank Of Melbourne’s Facebook pages to recognise discontent between corporation and its publics. This display of discontent is occurring in a highly transparent and public manner, much like airing dirty laundry in public.

This is because a broad spectrum of people of all demographics have access and the ability to interact with a corporation via their social media page and while people accustomed to (for want of a better word) ‘trolling’, will understand that negative comments are not always a true representation of a company- many, less media savvy, would hold that as gospel.

Even when corporations illustrate a well-operated social media platform, which ensures empathy, transparency and importantly competency with resolving a matter, there is still obvious fragmentation.

A lack of guidelines, or code of conduct for social media interaction concerning corporations and its publics is apparent. Corporation should inject funding into these strategies before a Web 2.0 social media platform is developed.

I would argue a higher body to ensure it has taken place should moderate it. The Airforce has instigated this by its Airforce Web Posting Response Assessment, which is a step by step process to interact with its publics, under the scrutiny of web users.

A social media platform is essential for corporations to remain accessible and current, however a neglected social media platform is catastrophic. So, while Andrew Baxter believes ultimately it pays to be part of the social club, with a poorly run social media platform,would the monetary gain just be a trade off?

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