Business Social Media Grows Up

The advent of social media in all its forms, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest etc., has opened the door for companies to communicate with their audiences in many different ways, from still words and visuals to videos. The explosion in social media options, however, can lead to complexity and confusion. Some questions to be considered when deciding which social media platform to use and how to use it are:

• How do you plan to communicate – written word, pictures, videos…the options are numerous and not mutually exclusive.

• What are you trying to accomplish – product advertising, thought leadership, event promotion, community involvement, all of the above?

• How frequently will you communicate – frequently during the day, once a day, once a week, once a month, almost never (although in that case, you probably shouldn’t pursue social media)?

• What do you want visitors to do – go to your site, respond to an offer, read some thought leadership, visit a physical location?

Of course, all of this is further complicated by the fact that financial institutions need to be especially careful about what they say and do in terms of social media.

An instructive example of a well-thought out, balanced approach to social media is employed by Goldman Sachs. The company keeps things informational and educational, as opposed to product promotional, a good way to sidestep regulatory disapproval. Goldman Sachs communicates through four social media networks, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Its four Twitter accounts cover different purposes/user segments; a general Goldman Sachs, another for careers, another targeted to an initiative the firm has to provide 10,000 underserved female entrepreneurs with a business management education and another for a similar type of program aimed at helping 10,000 small business owners grow and succeed. Its YouTube playlists tie into its Twitter segmentation nicely and continue to highlight “Citizenship” as well as the firm’s overall knowledge base and expertise. Posts on all networks are synchronized, with a frequency that makes the company seem current without being intrusive or overwhelming with the amount of content being hurled at visitors. Clearly, this is a well-orchestrated, highly coordinated and closely monitored communications effort.