Crafting a Consistent Global Business Services Social Media StrategyAdd bookmark
Every global capability center or global business services center operating in a region faces the daunting task of establishing its presence in the local talent market and building brand recall. More than ever, a Global Business Services operations is expected to have an online presence beyond just a web page. Without, actively presenting their raison d ‘être, the scope for the center to attract and retain top talent can be limiting.
With fierce competition, an evolving macroeconomic situation and a spurt of opportunities, prospective employees, partners, industry leaders and media professionals have more options to get information and engage elsewhere.
The channels of social media engagement will vary based on numerous factors including geographical location, demographics of the talent available, the type of organization, value of the medium and popularity. For example, channels like Linkedin are central to most employer branding approaches, irrespective of the region the organization operates in. Facebook appeals to a specific age group while Twitter is a source of information for media practitioners specifically. Likewise, Instagram and You Tube are important vehicles to engage audiences who like visually-led content.
With the pandemic creating a shift to digital, there is no doubt that those global business service organizations who embrace and tap the power of social media will lead the way
A healthy mix of channels is ideal for crafting a robust social media strategy for global business services. It can’t be that some channels are centrally managed and some locally, since each outlet needs to factor in the context and appropriateness of the culture and values in the region.
With the pandemic creating a shift to digital, there is no doubt that those global business service organizations who embrace and tap the power of social media will lead the way in the future.
So, where do leaders and communicators begin? What are the nuances of a social media strategy? How can it be balanced with the needs of the parent organization? In this article, I share perspectives to help practitioners and senior executives navigate this often-tumultuous journey to gain social media success.
Global vs local
There are pros and cons of having a consolidated global approach or a completely local engagement. Most parent organizations address customers from their HQ accounts while local pages are meant to address the talent market primarily alongside industry, government stakeholders, communities and media professionals. When customer content overlaps with local messages, there can be confusion. Having a hybrid model where the global account provides the overarching narrative and the local global business services organization showcases culture, innovation and thought leadership, can work well.
Centralized vs federated
Centralized control and command structures aren’t suited in a world where autonomy, real-time engagement and flexibility are the need of the hour. Be it a planned event or a crisis, the need for local is more pronounced that ever. There can be a deep co-existence with a partnership approach that allows for alignment and cohesiveness with branding and engagement. The narrative is co-owned with the global messaging aligning with the local needs. The result is the global business services team presenting a unified face to stakeholders, irrespective of the location they are in.
Strategic vs transactional
When social media channels are used strategically they can create impact far greater than a smattering of content that comes out sporadically from organizations. The goals of each channel need to be identified and highlighted. For example, Linkedin is ideal for showcasing thought leadership, Facebook and Instagram for the culture within, Twitter for media stories and You Tube for long form video content and engagement. There are many other channels (WeChat or Whatsapp for example), which may be used extensively in some markets. However, for the purpose of the basic strategy, ideally, we need to focus on the key ones.
Proactive vs reactive
Employees' social media reach is about 8X that of corporate accounts putting greater influence in the hands of the organizaton’s biggest advocates. Involving employees in the social media strategic approach early can create a sense of belonging and raise the game with awareness and action.
Employees' social media reach is about 8X that of corporate accounts putting greater influence in the hands of the organizaton’s biggest advocates
Research studies like the Edelman Trust Barometer indicate that employees are the most trusted – even more than CEOs. Therefore, employees have more influence and clout when it comes to expanding brand recall through their networks. Tapping the power of local engagement can improve impact. Having a local presence allows for faster outreach as opposed to waiting for a measured global response. Nevertheless, staying aligned with the global approach while practicing a local outreach is the ideal way of engagement. Reviewing approach periodically can keep stakeholders on the same page.
Outcomes vs output
The goal of social media engagement isn’t to ‘maintain’ a presence. It is to be a valued source of thought leadership, have a voice in the local community, and be the go-to reference for authentic and direct information about the organization’s operations, culture, people, leadership and great work. Finally, the channels need to drive interest in the official website for the local team. All this isn’t enough if the engagement can’t be measured. Measurement needs to go beyond the tactical abilities of pushing out messages. They need to be outcome based – that is knowing how well your stakeholders value the engagement, what they trust, who they think your brand stands for and the impact your business is making on the ground. All that ladders back to your global operations’ success as a brand.
Having a clear social media strategy that is aligned with your global brand and yet respects the local nuances is essential for your Global Business Services’ brand and reputational success.
Organizations who invest early and trust the local team’s knowledge to plan, implement and measure outcomes will stand apart from the rest.
Note: Views expressed are personal
Aniisu K Verghese is an award-winning internal communications leader, author, speaker, trainer and blogger with over 22 years of experience. His mission is to help individuals and organizations discover and develop their sweet-spot through effective communications.