Embracing Social Media
It’s very repetitive to say, “mobile and digital is the way of the future” and everyone who didn’t believe this is slowly getting on board, especially with COVID-19 and the many business changes it has forced. But what I’ve been encountering throughout my career is the separation of mobile/social platforms from what we do every day. In 2019, 40% of the world’s population were active on social media platforms. This is roughly 3 billion people (Jenkins 2019). Social Media Examiner’s Lisa Jenkins further adds, “Marketing via these networks is naturally critical for any organization selling products or services, either locally, regionally, nationally, or across the globe.”
So then I have to wonder—why does my company continue to departmentalize our marketing efforts so much and implement strict no social media/cell phone use policy for its associates? Afterall, it is the on-site teams that are interacting with prospects, residents, vendors and guests on a daily basis. They are on the ‘frontlines’ of the business and know more about the community in which they work in (and sometimes, reside in) including happenings from the neighborhood and the city.
Marketing is an essential part of our success, especially in a property management company competing in the very aggressive central Florida market. And while my company has its own marketing department, on-site teams who actually lease and engage with residents and prospects are left out of the marketing efforts. How can the company expect to reach the public without being on-site and involved in the actual events of the residential communities, surrounding neighborhoods and the city itself?
My hope is by understanding more about social media platforms and the mobile world that I can bridge that gap between our corporate offices and our on-site teams which would in return help us engage more effectively with future prospects and residents. The way associates are trained also needs to be changed, including the policies presented to us. Currently, we are told that our IT department is monitoring our internet and computer usages and that we are expected to disengage from our mobile phones during the workday. Associates are also not part of social media or marketing efforts—it is mostly the corporate office that handles the social media accounts with the assistance of one representative from the on-site office. But even then, the marketing department dictates what to post, when to post it and sometimes, the methods in which content can be posted.
My hope after this semester and with the completion of my degree, is that I would be able to influence some minor changes in the way we market and have our associates be actively engaged in these efforts. Some changes should include:
- All on-site associates should have access to social media accounts
- On-site team should put together a calendar of what to post based on events surrounding the neighborhood and city and take turns posting/commenting and sharing. This will also allow associates to be creative and create/share content.
- There should be a clear and accessible social media use policy put forth by the company (Todd Kunsmen, everyonesocial.com)
- Policy should be easily accessible by all
- Policy should be simple, direct and to the point
- Policy should provide guideline on what can be posted and what should not
- Corporate marketing team should hold a discussion with on-site teams to discuss level of engagement that is encouraged and answer questions.
These changes would allow on-site teams to be comfortable with what they can post and what they should not post. It will familiarize them with goals of the marketing department and teach them how they can help reach this goal. It will also emphasize the importance of social media engagement and how that can help the overall success of the company. If employees have a clear guideline on what they can post, they are more likely to engage without a fear of any repercussions.
Kunsman shared some additional statistics showing the importance of having an active social platform for any brand:
- More than 56% of online adults use more than one social media platform
- 75% of male internet users are on Facebook as well as 83% of female internet users
- LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million user profiles.
- Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile.
Everyone is always on the go, everyone wants information at their fingertips, and they want the information now. It’s not enough to have a great website anymore—consumers are looking at a brands social media engagement including things like what they support and what their beliefs are. But when the social media aspect of a brand is lacking, consumers will most likely shop elsewhere. Consumers want consistent, relevant and informative content and that content needs to be mobile accessible. It is very deconstructive for my company to play down the importance of mobile and implement backwards rules for mobile use.
Employees should be advocates for their companies through social media—if consumers see that the employee loves their workplace, their company and their teammates they’re more likely to trust that brand and want to be a part of it. Prospects and residents also want to know that their on-site team is present and engaged—after all, it is the on-site team that handles their rental payments, their service requests and are responsible for having events to engage the community. The on-site teams should communicate authority, the Marketing Insider Group (2018) also noted that employees build awareness, show authenticity, provide support, encourage engagement and help grow the business. Once that genuine connection is made with consumers, they will become advocates for the brand themselves and begin advertising within their circle of family and friends. Our consumers are one of our greatest assets and we should be maximizing our engagement with them to further our brand, popularity and loyalty.
Popular Brands on Social Media
Consider some of the most popular brands on social media. Nike is one such brand and the post below is from their Instagram account. Not only did they use their famous catch phrase “Just Do It” perfectly, but they also showed support for the USA women’s soccer team. The post below has over 500 thousand likes and over 3 thousand comments from people from all over the world—in what other platform can so many people come together and engage with one brand? Social media makes the brand accessible; it humanizes it and brings people together to discuss, support and even question. It gives brands the opportunities to showcase their products and make connections with their consumers.
Starbucks is another really popular brand on social media who used their popularity to further boast the ever so popular Pumpkin Spice Latte in the post below:
This post is also from Instagram and earned over 129K likes and has over one thousand comments. Starbucks has 18.2 million followers on Instagram. Again, I ask—in what other way could this ever be possible without social media?!
It’s time to talk a more serious stance with social media platforms and be more mobile and accessible to the public. Connections, engagement and accessibility are incredibly important to brand loyalty and with my company acquiring even more rental communities across the world (and some in the U.K.) I believe it’s time to position our brand as a top leader in the rental industry. By making a few minor changes in our marketing efforts and leveraging all that mobile social media has to offer through our on-site teams, we can get there.
Guest Author (2018, August 9). Why Social Media Is Important for Business Marketing. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/why-social-media-is-important-for-business-marketing/
Jenkins, L. (2018, May 7). The Guide to Social Media Marketing For Businesses. Retrieved from https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/the-guide-to-social-media-marketing-for-businesses/ Revised May 1, 2019
Kruse, K. (2018, March 15). 7 Smart Steps to Engage Employees in Social Media. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.krusecontrolinc.com/smart-steps-to-engage-employees-in-social-media/
Kunsman, T. (2019, December 18). 6 Ways to Get All Employees Active in Social Media Marketing. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://everyonesocial.com/blog/employees-social-media-marketing/
Newberry, C. (2018, May 2). 23 Benefits of Social Media for Business. Retrieved August 21, 2020, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-for-business/
Winterer, S. (n.d.). The Importance Of Social Media In Business: What You Need To Know. Retrieved from https://www.digitallogic.co/blog/the-importance-of-social-media-in-business/
The 9 Best Brands on Social Media. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://eclincher.com/the-9-best-brands-on-social-media/