It used to be that social media was something wholly owned by marketing teams. Gradually, however, businesses have realized that social media is more than a platform to push out content, and as Mark Zuckerberg continually states, Facebook is a technology company at its core. Facebook, along with Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, have become important channels for customer relations teams, loyalty departments, sales teams, IT departments and even security teams. Why? Because ultimately social media isn’t a single entity that needs managing – it’s campaigns and content that need managing, along with customers and communities.

In an SAP study on digital transformation, 56% of executives reported to have better understood their customers by means of implementing digital technologies. In addition, about half claimed that digital technologies enabled them to develop new business models and 90% regard  digital  transformation  as  important  for their company’s overall business strategy. Businesses wanting to meet the expectations of today’s customer need to ensure that there are staff members across the breadth of the company who are capable and trained on how to use social media for their job function. The benefits of upskilling existing staff include:

  • increased efficiency
  • ability to share responsibility of tasks
  • awareness of data and security training can mitigate risk
  • improved handling of customer enquiries
  • quicker customer response times
  • cost savings by bringing digital activities in-house rather than relying on external agencies
     “Companies led by CEOs who are active on social media are perceived 23% more positively.’’                                                                                                        

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is whether your business is leading from the top. If upper level management are not actively using social media and other digital tools, it doesn’t send the message that digital skills are a priority and staff are unlikely to be motivated. In an Australian study by Hootsuite, it was found that companies led by CEOs who are active on social media are perceived 23% more positively than companies without socially active CEOs.

As businesses move from management of social media through a centralized team, to cross-functional management, new procedures and guidelines will need to reflect the various tasks of each team member. New software that enables different permission levels so that front-line teams can react immediately may also help determine the new workflow. With skilled staff and a greater number of hands on deck, KPIs should be updated to reflect the business’ improved capabilities. For instance, when Groupe Germain Hotels adopted a cross-functional approach to social media using Local Measure, they found that they were able to respond to posts 4x faster on average and double their guest interaction rate.

Ultimately, by adopting social media and digital technology across different functional teams, businesses can be more nimble, more responsive and more customer-centric.