We sat down to talk to Kate Stamatakos, EMC Corporation's Senior Social Engagement Manager, about a major initiative to consolidate the brand's social media presences. Kate's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2012.
“I always say I'm jealous of our web team, because if you want to put a web page on EMC.com, you have to go through them.”
EMC Senior Social Engagement Manager Kate Stamatakos says, “But social doesn't work that way. Anyone can create an account at any time, even if they're not an employee with EMC.”
And that's a big problem for Kate and her team. That's why they've worked hard to close over 150 social accounts in a major consolidation effort.
Why close all of these accounts? Kate says it's all about what social presences are valuable to your customers.
If you searched for EMC on Twitter a few years ago, you'd come across tons of accounts: product accounts, geographical accounts, corporate accounts. Some actively managed, some abandoned. Some look legitimate, some seem off-brand.
EMC meets twice a year to evaluate their social media “ecosystem” and decide on the right mix of accounts that best serve the needs of their customers. They also determine which have to go and which accounts may be missing.
“But it wasn't easy to conduct that first audit,” Kate says.
They got some support from Twitter and Facebook to close inactive accounts from former employees, but consolidating the rest took a lot of legwork.
Each team who had created their own social presences had different goals, target audiences, and pressures. Kate says getting everyone on the same page was the hardest part.
“People feel very strongly that they need a social media account to use social media. But that's not always the case,” explains Kate.
“There are a lot of ways to use social media as a tool without ever having a dedicated social media presence.”
To prove it, Kate says they used the data.
“Data takes the emotion out of things. It's hard to argue when the numbers are clearly telling you which direction things need to go.”
So Kate's team showed the owners of the social accounts the metrics: how similar content performs on an active account, how much time it takes to manage an account, and the resources required. They even gave case studies from other teams who consolidated their social presences with approved EMC accounts and increased the performance they experienced.
“We made sure this was a partnership. I really tried to approach it as a positive experience: asking about their goals, who they're trying to reach, and talking about better ways to do it.”
Last year, Kate's team developed a Social Media University to help spread social media education.
The series of 20 on-demand training courses help cover social media for anyone from the casual social user to employees leveraging it for their jobs every day.
“Most of the time, a team has content they'd like to share on social media. For example, we have a team that creates testimonial videos. It wouldn't make sense to follow a Twitter handle that only shares videos of customers saying nice things about our products. So we give them an opportunity to share that content on our approved social presences.”
Using a social media management tool, Kate's team gives these content producers access to author a post or tweet, schedule the date and time, and submit that content for approval.
“The great thing about using a tool like this is that it not only gives you a workflow or a governance for approval, but also that the team gets metrics to see just how their content is performing no matter if they proposed it to a geography account, a product account, or a corporate account.”
For companies facing the same issues, Kate advises, “I think it's important for social media executives to understand that there's no right answer.”
“It's going to be different for every team,” Kate says. “The right ecosystem is very specific to an industry and an individual business, and it just takes a lot of time, data, and research to figure out what that will be for a company.”