Our Guide to Corporate Communications through Social Media and Content
Both in good times and in bad it’s important that corporations communicate with their stakeholders. Whether it’s the happy announcement of a new facility or the unfortunate disclosure of a layoff, the way companies communicate their news can make a significant difference in how they are viewed by the public. Nowadays, the rise of social media has made corporate communications all the more important. News travels faster, and people respond to the news in a very public way. So, how should communications departments respond to the latest challenges? Here are some resources that should be helpful.
Corporate Communications Content Marketing Advice
Not all content marketing is put out by the marketing department. In fact, the corporate communications department is responsible for a lot of output in this area. Why? Well, for one thing, corporate news and position statements are part of content marketing just as much as those glossy social media ads. People read and engage with them, and sometimes decide if they want to be associated with a company, based on what communications puts out.
One thing that corporate communications usually handles poorly is the company blogs. Unfortunately, these tend to be dry and have poor readership. For one thing, it isn’t always easy to write these in a way that people find engaging. Worse, companies often outsource the writing, which reduces its relevance. However, they’re an important way to ensure that your company is seen as a thought leader in its industry. Melanie Tamble talks about three company blogs that are highly successful. First, there’s Evernote. This blog is successful because it focuses on helping employees stay productive, and so does the company. Staying close to the corporate narrative helps. Second is REI, the sports coop. They love a journalistic approach that showcases customer and member adventures. Featuring things sold at REI, of course. Third is the JP Morgan Chase blog. It is successful because of the great tips given to consumers on how to handle their money. Thanks Chase! Using similar approaches, your company can have a successful blog, too.
Corporate Communications Social Media Advice
One of the differences between corporate communications and the marketing department is the purpose of your output. Marketers are generally trying to sell something, either directly or indirectly. On the other hand, corporate communications is more about educating stakeholders who may or may not be consumers. Examples include investors, members, and even employees. With marketing doing most of the social media talking, how should corporate communications harness the power of social media?
Once upon a time, you could open up a Facebook business page and, voila! There was all the visibility you could want on the platform. Now that Facebook (and to a lesser extent, other networks) has made it harder to get organic engagement, how should corporate communications adapt? By using the same strategies as the marketers. These include social listening, which will tell you what people are saying about your company. Integrate your communications and marketing social media strategies so they don’t fight each other. Take advantage of the content marketing trend, which includes giving information rather than selling all the time. Use visuals and emojis to attract people’s attention, even in more “professional” communications. Leverage different platforms and distribute your content in more than one place. Cross promote your content and leverage automation as appropriate.
How do you distribute content effectively? With cross-promotion. In a nutshell, this is the process of making your content available on multiple social media channels. This is also done by providing links to content that’s in a different location. There are several effective strategies for doing this. First, make sure you know which segments of your audience hangs out where, and tailor your cross promotion to meet those demographics. Second, offer content of different types and quality levels. Try varying what is shared between different media and platforms. Know when to post, and how often to post. Finally, program your social media management software to promote things the right way.
Social media automation is something that people usually associate with marketing departments. After all, communications puts out only the big stuff, right? Well, not quite. Automation can be useful for communications, too, if you follow these rules. First, know your audience, and consistently cater to them without being robotic. Next, optimize your schedule for best results, but don’t schedule too far ahead. Messing this one up can lead to content being “buried” by other people or the stuff from marketing. Finally, customize communications to encourage engagement and stay human. You don’t want people to think they’re talking to a robot.
Getting social media to work for your company is a Lot harder than just throwing things up on the corporate accounts. Instead, there are mistakes that have to be avoided. First, resist the temptation to post without a strategy in place. You’ll lose out on the benefits of social media if you do this. Second, forgoing an “acceptable behavior” policy is a PR nightmare waiting to happen. Be sure to have a content marketing strategy that touches on social media. Cross-promote your social media posts on various platforms to increase their impact. Don’t dive into social media without a content and posting calendar, because these keep you on track. Make sure you engage with social media followers and customers, because not doing so misses opportunities. Finally, make sure you analyze performance of your social media assets, so you can improve them in the future.
Whether it’s a PR disaster you’re responding to or something out of your control that affects operations, it’s always important to communicate effectively with stakeholders. After all, people want to know what you’re doing to address whatever situation your company is facing. For instance, if it has become harder to process orders for some reason, customers want to know about it.
Nothing in recent memory has been as disruptive to companies as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For months now, things have been shut down or limited by local and state regulations. The rules are constantly changing, leading to a lot of confusion and even anger. Worse, demonstrations and rioting have led to even more unpredictable situations. So, how should your company communicate with customers during this crisis? First, make sure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities for dealing with this crisis. That includes everyone from the C-suite down to production employees. Next, make sure you are on top of the ever-changing situation, and at the same time update everyone as necessary. Ensure that the entire company is consistent in what it says. Third, decide what channels are the most helpful for spreading your message. For instance, if you have an e-commerce site make sure there are banners that announce any closures or delays. Finally, this isn’t the time for blatant commercialism. People want to know your company is there for them, so try to be helpful and understanding. They’ll remember this when it’s time to buy something.
Corporate Communications Tools
Trying to get your corporate messages out to the masses is much easier when you have the right tools. One example of this is keeping track of social media. This could be a very time-consuming endeavor, but it doesn’t need to be. With the right tools, your company can keep track of everything in a much more timely manner.
These days, more companies are working remotely than ever. Especially with the Coronavirus disruption, this wasn’t always thought out well ahead of time. In this post, my expert Melanie Tamble gives you advice on the tools you can use to make this (even temporary) transition easier. Her recommendations are divided up into nine categories. They are: team organization, productivity boosters, remote communications, document sharing, graphics creators, video and screencast providers, online publishing aids, and crisis monitoring. Some of these utilities are more critical for cohesive work, while others help mainly one or two people in the firm. However, all are useful.