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23 February 2015

How sociable are you?

The old office social! The place where true opinions about colleagues come to light, the boss’s penchant for ABBA gets an airing on the jukebox and we learn that Colin from IT is actually a decent guy! When we’ve all relaxed a bit more outside the office, we can all work together inside it that little bit better.

The advent of social media can be seen in a similar light, taking business outside the normal constraints of office formality and giving customers an insight into the way things work. At the end of the day we’re all human and breaking down some of the old barriers that used to keep customers at arms length can only be a good thing. As we’ve seen with the office social, when we all talk a little more freely, business works better.

Top down

It’s a hard concept to get your head around, particularly because the old boundaries between staff and customers were so firmly drawn. Getting your business to be truly social needs to have the support from the very top. Olivier Choron, CEO and founder of purechannelapps and general social media guru, suggests that “social is no longer something which can be done in isolation, in one part of the business or for just one function – it is the business”.

It’s about the long game

With this in mind, don’t simply lump social media in the marketing bucket and be done with it. It’s about the bigger picture of brand building and customer experience. Take a look at the way InnocentDrinks chats with their customers. They’re talking over lunch and checking in with them whilst they slurp their smoothie; it’s not all about the sale.

The good thing is that ‘talk is cheap.’ Tweeting and posting on Facebook takes nothing more than a few minutes out of your day, however, you’ve got to be prepared to invest that time, across the board.  

Investing across the board

Social media works because it’s all about your people – real staff talking directly to real customers. Of course, this does make companies more vulnerable to the scrutiny. However, if you’re proud of what you do and the way you do it – why not tell the world?

You need to remember that not all your staff are ‘digital natives’ so you’ve got to be prepared to invest. Getting your policies straight, setting out some guidelines for dealing with sensitive issues and getting some standards of good practices in place will put you on the right road. Follow that up with training and constant encouragement for staff to think of social media as part of their daily routine and have fun! We’ve got plenty more tips where these have come from on our website.

If you want to know more tweet @ifourdesign, check out our Facebook page or go for the traditional method of calling 01892 541111 or e-mailing us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you; we’re a very sociable lot you know!

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