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Companies face social media learning curve

Many company employees use it on a daily basis for their own needs and wishes. So how can a firm exploit all the benefits of various social media for its own success?


Using social media for corporate purposes requires a plan combined with good content and processes. Inspiration, the right mindset and a smart implementation are essential.

A company must have a clear idea of their social media plan and goals. Social media is introduced as part of a company’s operations, which means that it is just not about marketing. Social media changes our idea of time, space and working methods. It enables global teams, crowdsourcing, on-site work and remote participation when one can be present both physically and virtually online.

It enables shared expertise and is a personal learning environment where information is found, shared and edited for different content. Social media promotes networking and different working or learning facilities when the relevant tools are used. It highlights the team members’ different skills and knowledge – which can be combined – and it enables the expression of creativity, resulting in inspiration and encouragement in the company.

Cutting to the chase

In addition, social media may decrease unnecessary information interruptions in the long term and make “silent” information visible, such as migrating the induction process to a wiki from e-mails. Each blog text of the company, and each instance of supplementing the wiki page adds to the company’s assets. It makes everyone’s work visible, it can create an empowered workplace, it gives new channels and means of recruitment, it creates new jobs such as online midwife, network facilitator, community manager, mobile advisor  and nomad teacher.

Any plan must account for internal and external communication. It must determine which social media channels the customers access, and what kind of action is taken in them. The correct social media channels must be selected, and room for discussions must be created, and it must be considered how the company partakes in the discussions. Employees need to understand how to take care of the company’s social media channels, and time must be allocated for that process of learning.

A firm needs to consider how to make its customers’ dealings with them a unique experience. The company must have quick, honest and personal crisis communication. The content produced by the company should be interesting, informative, readable, correctly written, appealing to the target group, compliant with the company’s interests and strategy, and suitable for the selected channel or app. Consumers rely on peer network recommendations, which means that recommending the company must be made easy.

Where there’s the will, you can learn anything!

In your company, find those people who already have a social media presence and  pick their brain. Ask them how they have learned to use social media. Organise workshops where you can learn together, exchange experiences, and adjust your ways of working according to the lessons you have learned. Try out new ideas, learn, apply them, find new things, and be bold!

Throughout two significant Sitra pilot schemes – one exploring open innovation environments and other the rural economy – companies and corporate advisors learned about and applied social media for four weeks. During the pilot, it dawned on the parties that everyone’s pace of learning is different. One can implement the lessons learned and use them in the respective workplace, and inspire others to join in and together create shared rules. First one learns at the personal level and then one implements the lessons in practice at the corporate level.

Author: Pauliina Mäkelä (in Finnish)