Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Social and corporate values - making them play nicely

Overview of Telecom case study from recent SOMO Conference. 

As one of NZ’s most well-known brands, Telecom concentrates heavily on managing as opposed to branding or building an online profile through Social Media.

They’ve had their fair share of problems over the last few years – the XT network launch, Steven Fry rant, broadband inaccessibility and network coverage issues,  to name a few.  Until recently their Social Media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, was run by a group of passionate employees within Telecom, operating without mandate or structure.  Despite trying their best, too often they found themselves seeking forgiveness for sending inconsistent and sometimes incorrect messages to the media and public.
Times they are a changing. Recently Telecom has formalised their social media path, investing in people and processes and  viewing the channels as important extensions of Customer Service, Marketing and PR.   Richard Irvine, the Online Community Communication Manager, is solely responsible for the policy and management of these platforms in-house.
Richard directed an internal Social Media ‘Online Response Team’ of a dozen employees.  He sought out individuals who were already very active and highly regarded on their internal Yammer network, and Geekzone (the website).  These individuals from across the company volunteer their time to monitor and contribute to customer queries on Facebook, Yammer and to a lesser extent, Twitter.  Richard briefs them using a comprehensive social media policy to help them work with a common set of values and messages, which is approved by the Exec prior.  The team feel they have been the given scope and trust to respond to posts, and they use ‘Co-Tweet’ to ensure only one person replies at once.  They use their own voice and sign off using their own names - as opposed to acting on behalf of Telecom.  For example, “Hi Sally, the issue you are experiencing is… From John Smith”. 
Richard monitors and responds to the majority of the tweets the Telecom Twitter account receives.  Twitter is seen as a Stakeholder and Reputation Management tool, with an ‘always on’ approach (weekends / evenings included).  His motto is ‘two ears, one mouth”, as he does far more listening than tweeting.   
The analysis and insights generated via Social Media channels is presented to the Senior Leadership Team regularly, and is used to help shape views of customer’s satisfaction, trends and issues. 
Richard suggests these guidelines for running successful social media platforms:
1.       Purpose - have clear objectives for each social media channel
2.       Be social – be familiar with it, both using and knowing 
3.       Governance – where does it sit within the organisation? Who actually does it?
4.       Stakeholders – who within the organisation?  E.g. the Exec, Comms, Brand/Marketing, Customer Service, Legal
5.       Who – one voice or many?
6.       How - tone and style and transparency
7.       Availability – responsiveness agreed up front

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