Becky Borrow, operations manager for Copper Consultancy asks how social media can help the waste and resources industry, in a time when communications is one of the biggest challenges.
CIWM Journal Online Exclusive
The realisation that organisations need a social media presence is growing, but along with this comes a number of questions – which channels to use, what to say, how often to say it, and is it really going to add value…?
“Communications is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at the current time. It is essential we use all tools at our disposal to get our messages out there,” comments CIWM’s Steve Lee.
But knowing whether your social media activity is actually getting you places is one of the biggest questions. You’ve got a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, you post messages a few times a week and have gained a number of followers – but are you truly getting your messages out there to the right audience, and are you achieving a value that justifies your efforts?
In a month when we have seen the #epicfail of the British Gas #AskBG customer engagement campaign via Twitter and the #UKStorm creating a whirlwind of its own on social media networks, the power of these communication tools is evident. But as with anything, without a certain amount of investment, it is hard to make an impact.
The upside is that with social media that investment does not have to come in the form of hard cash. Setting up the accounts is free, managing campaigns effectively need not take hours each day, content does not need to be designed or purchased. However, what is crucial is some initial investment in knowing what you are doing and learning how to do it effectively.
Steve Bustin, social media guru and trainer for the CIWM Communications courses, offers these top tips for social media success:
1) Its not all about you, you, you – be generous and offer others value
2) Include “rich content” such as images and videos to enhance your messages
3) Make yourself useful – providing helpful information is always appreciated
4) Answer questions and interact with your followers/fans – it is social media after all!
5) Have a personality!
Being able to gauge your social media Return on Investment (ROI) is also essential. How to best measure this depends on what it is you are trying to gain – are you looking to increase brand awareness? Are you trying to sell more products? Do you want to change customer perceptions? There are some great tools out there which enable you to manage your accounts and to report back on your successes but you need to be clear as to what you are trying to achieve.
Take “TweetReach” for example – providing figures on how many accounts your Tweets have hit in the last week or so, this tool is invaluable at knowing how widely your messages are reaching. For example, at RWM in partnership with CIWM 2013, the Communications Hub hashtag #RWMComms reached nearly 50,000 unique Twitter accounts in just eight days. Or perhaps you want to know the geographic reach of your messages? ‘MentionMapp’ can help here. Measuring social media is not just about numbers of followers.
If you do take time to think through your social media strategy, ensuring that you know how to use the channels effectively, have your key messages lined up, know what results you wish to measure, there is every likelihood you will be a social success and make the impact you’re looking for – why not give it a go?
Need a little help with the above?
There are a few places remaining on the CIWM & ESA accredited training course ‘Getting the most out of social media’ which takes place at CIWM HQ in Northampton on 28 November. Delegate rate is £280 + VAT for CIWM members (non-members £350 + VAT). For more information or to book your place, call Tanya on 01604 823349. Details can also be found on the CIWM website: http://www.ciwm.co.uk/rEvent/Gettingthemostoutofsocialmedia-1000367
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