Monday, September 29, 2008

Think Social Media isn't applicable within your Organisation? MI6 disagrees

I frequently hear those within bureaucratic, often governmental organisations saying that social media holds no value to them. My response; wrong. No successful organisation can exist in the absence of strong customer relationships. The benefits afforded by social media stem precisely from its ability to create two-way dialogue. Organisations must create an on-going conversation with the customer in order to ensure that their product or service offerings remain relevant. That is not to say that social media is only applicable to commercial organisations. Even non-commercial organisations are turning to social media to reach their 'customers', the results of which may be surprising to some.

Still not convinced? MI6 and the Foreign Office seem to be. The Guardian recently reported that MI6 has begun to use Facebook advertising to promote positions as International Information Officers. Clearly, this governmental branch has recognised the position of the social media as the environment most familiar to its target 'market'. Having traditionally employed its operatives from the best British universities, Facebook advertising is a logical first step towards conversing with its target audience. Similarly, the Foreign Office has encouraged blogging as a means of reaching out to their target audience, whilst presumably implementing the technologies as a means of appearing less mechanistic.

Social media can be successfully implemented in most organisations. In order to do so however, these organisations must reject the unsubstantiated notion that social media can only be effectively implemented within commercial ventures. This assumption is false. The last few years have seen the creation of the 'net generation'; a social group more at home with technology than at any other point in time. These individuals will demand greater accessibility to the organisations which affect our every day lives. Herein lies the beauty of the social media; whilst your organisation may not effectively implement each of the platforms generally grouped under the umbrella term Web 2.0, certain systems will invariably add value to your operations. For example, blogging as demonstrated by the FCO blogs illustrates a degree of interest in conversing with your target audience. These small steps each constitute an attempt to get closer to the end user. As traditional marketing platforms such as print and televisual advertising become incerasingly less effective whilst simultaneously becoming more expensive, the social media clearly represents the most viable option for conversing efficiently with the target audience.

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