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The business of going social

Edwin YappDec 12, 2013

 

Social media metrics?
 

Speaking at a panel discussion in conjunction with the release of the report on Dec 9, Jason Juma-Ross (pic, middle), digital intelligence lead for PwC Australia, noted that it takes an organisation a long time to embrace social media channels because many of these companies already have established processes and large investments built into their existing channels.
 
“[As a result] social media tends to get executed as an add-on first,” he said. "When it’s an add-on, you won’t suddenly turn off, say, your call centre channel and [just] turn on, say, a Twitter channel, but rather, you run it on top of your existing channel.
 
“If we want to get to the situation where the consumers are actively engaging on your social channel, it’s going to take time and companies need to be educated.”
 
Also on the panel were Ahmad Izham Omar (pic, centre right), chief executive officer (CEO) of Media Prima Television Networks & Primeworks Studios; Mohammad Shazalli Ramly (pic, far right), CEO of Celcom Axiata Berhad; and Khailee Ng (pic, centre left), chairman of Rev Asia.
 
Asked by panel moderator Umapagan Ampikaipakan (pic, far left) of BFM Radio as to whether there are even established metrics to track social media, Juma-Ross said that it’s definitely not about ‘likes’ on Facebook.
 
“We know it’s not ‘Likes.’ But for a company, thinking of volume of either shares or 'Likes,' it may not be an important metric to what they’re trying to do with the business and may even be irrelevant.”
 
Juma-Ross said many social media campaigns to date have unfortunately been measured based on the number of ‘Likes,’ but the question remains for the industry is how you prioritise that in terms of business value, noting that there is no sure fire way to evaluate ‘Likes’ yet.
 
“For now, a company will have to look at the process method [for evaluating a campaign]. For instance, if you’re going to sign up prospective subscribers, there is a certain process to follow and certain stages in that conversation path – from evaluating sentiment to intent, to [call to] action.

“What you need to do is to break down the information, the huge volume of chatter and figure what stages in that process a company is at. You’ve got to ask ‘Is that stage they’re in positive or negative with respect to their competitors?’ It’s a process of optimisation by listening intelligently rather than evaluating by volume.”
 
Should we strike back?
 
To a question from the floor on how does one manage social media given that Malaysians are quick to pose complaints and grievances rather than compliments, Media Prima’s Ahmad Izham noted that people were entitled to their own opinions and there is no need to be too reactive to those comments by deleting them and striking back.
 
He believes the behaviour one should have on social media should mirror what happens in real life, where a person rarely reacts violently when speaking to another.
 
“When someone gets aggressive around the table [in real life], in most cases, we would try to defuse the situation rather than fight back,” he pointed out.  
 
“I think the most important thing to be reminded of in all this craziness about social media is that we’re all just sitting around and having a chat, and that the same manner and etiquette we apply in person should be applied on social media.”
 
On the issue of whether one should separate his personal persona from the company one works for, Juma-Ross advised those on social media not to have their personal persona be too far different from that of one’s real-life persona as social media are filled with people with axes to grind.
 
“You can’t afford to be duplicitous in your character,” he pointed out. “All of us are transparent on social media so you can’t have your social persona and your personal one too far removed from each other.
 
“A lot of strong public relations disasters have been caused by personalities having very strong differentials between how they project themselves in reality compared with how they do so in social media. It’s important to close the ‘authenticity gap’ between the two.”
 
That said, Celcom’s Shazalli noted that while in most cases, employers should have a light-handed approach as to how employees use social media, there are cases where it’s imperative that employers take a ‘hard line’ approach.
 
“We have engaged consultants to build in employment terms and conditions [into our contracts] because a company like Celcom is bound by Data Privacy laws [Personal Data Protection Act 2010]. We have strict guidelines against employees tweeting about our customers.”
 
Commenting on these guidelines, which are often not followed, Rev Asia’s Ng believes one way to make it easy for employees to adhere to these guidelines is to design an employee handbook that employees would want to read.
 
“Some of the most viral employee handbooks are like the one from Valve Corporation, the guys who make the Steam platform for gaming or Netflix, [the streaming video company],” he said. “If we can do that and capture their attention, they would want to adhere to the guidelines in all seriousness.”
 
Despite these challenges facing Malaysian corporations and their captains, all in the panel agreed that social media is here to stay and that stakeholders have no choice but to embrace it, a sentiment summarised well by a senior PwC executive at the forum.
 
“Many Malaysian organisations don’t have a robust strategy to guide their social media activities and quantify their benefits,” said Sundara Raj, PwC’s Malaysian Consulting practice lead. “This is a lost opportunity, considering the dynamic nature of social media which enables businesses to respond to what their consumers and employees are talking about as they unfold,”
 
To download the full report, go here
 
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