Last week the company had a group activity where the following question had to be answered:
“How can we make our company seen?”
A broad but familiar question, one that I assume most companies try to figure out the answer to.
At first I thought that the sandwich buffet would be the main attraction of the
evening; I might have some qualities of a marketer, but my days in
telemarketing weren’t the most joyful I’ve had.
Most groups employed the classical way making a company known, that is to plaster our logo on everything that can fit it. There were some interesting ideas like offering WiFi hotspots at the conventions that the company tends to attend, but in general a flurry of company car stickers, usb keys and coffee cups were suggested.
I had the good fortune however of sitting next to a table where the idea of a Twitter account emerged. This would be a channel outwards for the company the table thought, a news feed. The idea sounded interesting until it occurred to me that these people had no broader intentions than dropping a release announcement at times in less than 140 characters; it turned out that I (and a lone co-worker that shared my views) had to mention that moving into social networking implies that there has to be something social about the new way of communicating. We already have a web page for announcements.
Learn from others
The last time I witnessed a remarkable failure in trying to penetrate the
social media, with the one responsible never having tried to do so before, was
during the EU-elections in Sweden.
The seven established parties noticed that the digital campaign for Obama was highly successful, and therefore decided that bombarding YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and so on with sponsored content would grant them instant victory.
What neither they then nor my company now realized was that to be of relevance you have to be someone, and by someone I mean an entity that generates a two-way discussion.
The “two-way” part is where the secret lies. The only party that had a substancial and lasting presence during the elections was, unsurprisingly, the Pirate Party. What they did was to start heated debates on blogs, comment sections and on Twitter feeds. People sharing their points of view and defending them vigorously because of a passion for the issues at hand.
People. Opinions. Passion.
Indications of a driving force that can generate interest, those are the things that will make you want to make contact and possibly spread the three above further.
How to be seen
So the Twitter feed was a great idea for the company, but it does take that
lively person to keep it going. My suggestion was at the time was to appoint
a person who has a fairly good insight into most parts of the company to on
a routinely basis scurry around the web for places to make our voice heard on.
It doesn’t matter whether it would be writing a column on some page related to our area of expertise, or if it would be posting a tiny tweet to compliment the author of an article regarding a hot topic. Turn the digital avatar of our company into a presence.
I’m not a master of this subject, but wouldn’t it be nice if it more often felt like the one selling you something is someone you’d like to recommend to your friend?