“We realized in this day and age, social media is critical not only to our success, but to our clients’ success,” said Edge President and CEO Lorri Rishar Jandron. “Clients were approaching us about how they want to be part of the social media world.”
The importance of social media in their clients’ marketing programs has grown so much that Edge Partnerships has a full-time staff person dedicated to social media management. Edge employs sophisticated tools to manage client’s Facebook, Twitter and Linked In pages.
Several Edge clients have enjoyed successful ventures into social media. The Edge team convinced the University of Northern Iowa to reallocate 50 percent of its traditional media advertising budget into social media. The result— within four months the University experienced a 20 percent increase in inquiries and a 17 percent increase in admissions.
Many companies are finding that social media offers more flexibility for interactivity and instant feedback from their customers. As a result, some companies now prefer to drive consumers to their Facebook page instead of their more static website.
How does a company seeking to develop a social media presence know where to start?
“Take one thing at a time and do it well,” said Angela Witwer, Edge executive vice president & COO.
It’s important for anyone considering a social media presence to understand the various media platforms and how they best fit your organization.
“Linked In is the corporate office. It’s where business takes place among 400,000 corporate executives,” said John Hill, director of Alumni Career Services for the
Hill speaks throughout the country educating organizations on how to more effectively utilize the power of social media. He emphasizes a four-step approach to
- Learn to Listen – Linked In, Facebook and Twitter all have advanced search capabilities that allow you to figure out what people are saying about your organization;
- Research – Start putting numbers behind the medium. Look at companies you do business with and the profiles of their executives. See what your customers are doing and how they communicate;
- Engage – Get your brand into the social media universe and get it to work for you. “People who connect to your brand are your organization’s best ambassadors,” said Hill;
- Enable your ambassadors to sell your service. Hand off the messaging to them. For example, Hill says a number of companies will distribute a news release to their employees prior to sending it to the media. That allows employees to spread a consistent message using their own individual communications platforms.
“Social media is really about building relationships,”said Kate Tykocki, CAMW’s chief communications officer. “Whether that helps a person connect with a job, whether it helps someone standout from the crowd, whether it helps a business recruit a new employee or whether it broadens a business’s reach and helps it develop meaningful relationships with its customers, it all boils down to people connecting with people.”
Hill, who thinks resumes will become obsolete in the next five years, says Linked In allows job-seekers to tell a more complete story about themselves that goes beyond what can be listed in a resume.
“Your personal brand is becoming your employment currency,” says Hill.
Managed properly, social media can deliver powerful results. But, organizations need to carefully think through their strategy before diving in full force.
“If you don’t have time to invest in it, don’t do it,” said Danielle Lenz, public relations and social media specialist for Edge.
For a growing number of organizations, social media is no longer a novelty, but rather an integral component of their marketing program.
“It’s here,” said Jandron. “Social media has become a very important part of every day business.”