social media and its importanceWhen I started working as Corporate Social Media Manager in 2011, many people had no idea what my job was all about. At that point, I would never have guessed how much time it would take me to win people over in the months that followed.

I had already been actively using social networks in my private life on a daily basis for several years. I had absolutely no doubts about the potential waiting to be tapped for companies who decided to use social media. It soon became clear, however, that many of my colleagues and senior managers were rather sceptical about social media. Many people had read a good deal about the outrage regarding social media faux pas in the media, which made them see the risks rather than the opportunities.

The major challenge for me was to explain to my colleagues what the benefits of social media were, and above all gain backing at management level. Everyone knew that social media was “becoming increasingly important and that the topic could no longer be ignored”. However it still took a while to go from this level of understanding to gaining backing from management and getting resources and budget approved for this very purpose.

In the first few months after taking on the role of Corporate Social Media Manager, I began to put together a social media team and developed Social Media Governance structures with this team. We developed guidelines for employees, set up internal coordination and approval processes, and drew up the social media strategy for use across the entire company.

There’s plenty to do, with four divisions who all have different goals and target groups within the company, over 50 locations worldwide, and the number of social platforms growing daily. The strategies have to be updated continually as any social media strategy essentially becomes obsolete after a short time. You finish drawing one up and submitting it for approval, only to have the whole process to start over again not too long thereafter.

For now, however, one thing is clear: social media does not just mean using Facebook and you cannot treat social media as a mere ‘side-line’ activity: You need a clear strategy, budget, resources, and content that is of interest and up-to-date at all times.

We have now appointed Social Media Managers for each market to bolster our social media core team and ensure the company is up-to-date with local social networks at all times. This applies in particular to the emerging market of China, where as usual everything works differently. Read my next blog entry for more about this.

Coming up:
Why has MANN+HUMMEL chosen to have a company blog? What other tasks does a Social Media Manager have?

Perhaps you have another question that you’d like me to answer in this blog? If so, feel free to use the comment function. I would love to discuss anything to do with social media and look forward to a lively, constructive discussion.