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Getting grass-roots support for social media involvement

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 23rd July 2010

We’ve been running a series of company-wide social media training sessions for a client of ours this week and it’s been amazing to see how receptive and energised the company’s employees have been.

Too often in PR, and also in marketing, we have a ‘them and us’ attitude. We take briefs from spokespeople and blend them into carefully worded press statements. We take products and give them snazzy slogans and endlines that we then push out to target audiences through advertising or DM.

But social media changes the game. Take these old traditional marketing mindsets into the social arena and you quickly get found out and, at best, ignored. We’ve discussed how, more than ever, agencies (of every creed) that are involved in social media, need to take a more supportive, guiding approach and I’ve seen this very clearly this week.

Moving away from the walled garden approach

Often, when we (as an audience) try and engage with businesses on social media channels, we want direct access to the brand; not a PR agency/manager or official spokesperson. Often, we don’t even want to talk to the CEO or managing director.

In many cases, we want to talk to the guys with the knowledge: the insiders. We want to talk to the product team that is working on the new features or functionality. We want to talk to customer services about our latest order. Or, we want to talk to a straight-talking sales rep that can help with our prospecting enquiries.

The companies that are beginning to excel in social communities are really getting this.

So its great to see that, given the chance and the freedom, employees are keen and eager to take up the social media baton and run with it.

It takes a brave company (so kudos to our client) to allow employees to do this and it takes a certain degree of planning, strategising and then monitoring (where we are happy to help out), to get this right.

But it is possible and it gives everyone involved a real buzz when it starts to come to fruition…

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Danny Whatmough