brand management and online engagement

How do you join the dots? How do you deliver the same message on the web and through the social web while using the comms team? Especially while talking to people. One company has some answers and has published a report too.

by Katie Bacon

A recurring theme shared with our team from local authorities, educational provisions, charities and private sector clients is: 

“How do we integrate the online ‘organisational brand’ message in conjunction with the communication team while connecting online with our target audience in an transparent and inclusive manner?”

There are multiple issues to be explored and addressed.

Organisations are composed of people working in various departments, each offering specific expertise, experience, products and resources. Offering a ‘one fit for all’ social media brand presence can mitigate the complexity of need of a local, regional and national online community and at worse further exclude vulnerable groups within local communities.

Each department may require a variance of how they engage online with their target audience due to differentials of age, digital literacy, gender, ethnicity, economic, housing and mental health status. This requires organisations working in collaboration with the communications team, departments professionals and interested target audience members to co-develop their social media engagement strategy to establish and activate ‘digital champions’. 

A Facebook page is excellent to present a ‘shop window’ of your organisation, however a Facebook group offers more security features and functionality, also can have multiple admins managing the group.

Tumblr is very popular amongst teenagers and young adults/professionals, have your organisation ever tried to micro blog?

In our view the key is to invest in active participation with your target audience members.  In the spring of 2013, we conducted an online survey of 60 professionals and group discussions (25 professionals) to understand and gain an insight into the experiences of youth practitioners and teacher’s use and application of social media within their everyday professional practice. As there is increasing awareness of the need to adopt and integrate social media and digital tools into the everyday professional practice of youth professionals and teachers.

Please click here to download the pdf report.

Short film clips summarizing the report: Finding The Digital Edge are here

Our research identified 77 per cent of 85 youth practitioners/teachers use social media in their work with young people. Of note there is nearly an equal split in usage between communication (broadcast, notify, connect) and teaching.

Our research also identified a remaining cohort, 23 per cent of respondents, who advised that they did NOT use social media in their work with young people. Within this group there was a real sense of the concern around the blurring of professional boundaries and potential imposition on the privacy of young people.

Twenty-four delegates were invited to discuss and share their views as senior managers, practitioners and students about the challenges, opportunities and solutions to activating and integrating Social Media into their everyday professional practice. The outputs have been summarized into three groups including Students, Practitioners and Senior Management each with a two page summary identifying opportunities and challenges followed by a page with actionable recommendations.

Consulting and enabling active participation of your target audience will better inform your organisational Social Media engagement strategy. 

This in turn needs to dovetail with the overall organisational marketing, service delivery and business objectives. This enables ROI (return of investment) and KPIs (key performance indicators) to be identified assessed and reviewed to demonstrate success, areas of development and further strengthen the overall online organisational brand.

Katie Bacon is chief executive and co-founder of Digital Picton Limited.