Is there any enterprise left that is not impacted by social media? From corporate communications to customer care, from promotional campaigns to employee input, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and their counterparts cut across the whole spectrum of business activities. A distributor without a company social media policy could be missing out on opportunities.
Now, businesses have many different priorities. Bringing revenue in today may be more pressing than defining a policy on social media for tomorrow. Experience also suggests that positive business impact from social networking often builds over time, rather than being immediate.
But the same can be said of quality assurance, for example. And to paraphrase quality guru W. Edwards Deming, quality and social media policies are not compulsory, but then neither is survival. To evaluate the priority of a company social media policy for your own distributorship, consider the following aspects.
Public social networks provide an additional channel for building a brand image that includes viral marketing potential. But the real benefit comes after first defining clear company objectives and creating suitable content. You want your audience to identify with and be enthused about what you have to say, not be turned off by empty social chitchat.
Hiring the right people can be a challenge. The most suitable candidates may not be actively looking for a new position. However, there is a fair chance that they use social media. Mentioning career openings as part of your company social media content is one way to get in front of more potential talent.
Internal Social Networking
Social media can boost collaboration, productivity, and innovation within a distributor. Standalone software applications allow enterprises to run their own internal social networks for these advantages, while avoiding unwanted leaks of company-specific discussions into public social media spaces.
Some comments or complaints never reach the distributors concerned via the conventional channels. However, resellers may be considerably more vocal about their opinions when using social media. If you know what the problem is, you have a chance to fix it, reduce churn, and build a more loyal reseller base.
Fire, floods, internal systems failure, and massive vendor product recalls can hit any distributor. Social networks offer a communication channel that is permanently open, easy to use and accessible by all of your business partners. No matter what catastrophe you’re coping with in-house, you can use public social media to help set expectations, instead of leaving your market in the dark.
When it comes to the distributor, social media tweets, comments, and photos should be governed by an Acceptable Use Policy. Make it concise, clear and known to employees. And set the example by showing how you, yourself use it for any business matters.
Social networks have become too pervasive to be ignored. A company social media policy, however basic, is a necessary item, if only to ensure acceptable use by employees and suitable responses to market feedback on your enterprise.
You can then leverage the work you do on your social media policy for more robust management of emergency situations. And from there it may only be a short step to starting to proactively derive further business benefits.
How much success have you had in using social networks – external or internal – for business benefit? Share your experience with us in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.