Digital Dialogue

I've never been that good at saying 'No'. At work, my philosophy has always been to just be as useful as possible to everybody. That way you can quickly begin to add value to the team and even the people who don't like you won't make trouble if they realise you are helpful to them! With this in mind, part of our social strategy at Kier is to inform people that if they want their own account they can have one. We don't say 'no'. They just need to attend our course...

With so many joint ventures and specific projects happening many of our regional offices feel they would benefit from their own Twitter/Facebook accounts. This is why I've been travelling a lot lately, to present on what we are doing centrally, how staff can plug into it and to highlight the implications of managing their own social media account(s). Primarily this is educating people on what it is they are actually asking for and the implications. I always liken setting up a Twitter account to setting up a stall outside your office - you're basically putting up a shop front for people to come and moan at you! If you're willing to do something about what you hear then great, but if all you intend to do is broadcast and then hide under the table when challenged there is little point.

My training venue this week. They
make great tuna baguettes!
Strategy is also vitally important and the course we've devised covers everything from the basics, right up to proving ROI and governance. More often than not we mutually decide that tapping into our existing channels would be best for all concerned. This approach is as important for meeting people in the business, understand their needs and objectives and then working together to generate content to benefit Kier as whole and helps us to test and learn.

On Monday, I was pleased to be vindicated in this approach after hearing the Head of Digital Communications at BP present on their strategy at the Digital Marketing Dialogue in Ascot. They also have an attitude that is geared towards educating the business with an online course giving an introduction to Social Media for all staff. Where they differ, is that they then ask anyone who wants their own social account to fill in a form outlining their objectives, KPIs, out of hours and monitoring strategies. It seems not many people actually think this far ahead and when faced with these questions decide not to bother. That's one way of doing it!

The new online experience which
more customers are expecting
On the whole the conference was a great opportunity for me to get out of the office and hear from my equivalents at KLM, Sky, Monster, HP, More Th>n and Philips. I actually learnt as much about presentation technique as I did about other company's strategies and found the ones that resonated with me most were the ones which told a story. I also spotted a theme that was around the importance in providing an old fashioned and personal experience online. Human nature being what it is it's clear that where technology became the go to method for some to do their shopping it's now gone full circle and people are expecting the same personal experience they would get in person online (i.e. to be remembered, listened to and helped).

Probably the most useful part of the conference was the chance to talk with my peers around strategies that work best for them. I did find however that when I told people I work for Kier their first thought was "the car company?" This definitely shows that our plan to increase awareness of what we do through both our online and offline is a right one. I really hope that I can go back next year and prove I've done my job well by everyone knowing who we are!

So in conclusion there is nothing that beats human interaction. Whether it be at a conference or through a training course. No matter what shiny new toys are on the horizon having a dialogue in person will always be the most effective.

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