Strategic Social Solutions drives corporates to befriend the social media trend

September 2013

    Strategic Social Solutions drives corporates to befriend the social media trend
    Befriending the trend is taking off with a growing number of corporates that have embraced a South African public relations innovation that has the potential to break through the social media conversations and turn them into brand-building discourse.

    Strategic Social Solutions (SSS) from Magna Carta, the award-winning PR agency, has become a significant contributor to the firm’s business growth and relevance on the back of proven capacity to ignite social media conversations on issues relevant to major brands.

    “Early adopters of the SSS product include leading automotive, financial service, beverage, hospitality, publishing, state-owned enterprises and cellular telephony brands – primarily in South Africa, though the first implementation in sub-Saharan Africa is already under way,” says Katie Taylor, Magna Carta’s new media director.

    SSS tracks and maps influencers of social media conversations relevant to corporate clients, including bloggers, websites, Facebook, Twitter, their own media and other channels. Topics generating most comment are identified, including praise or complaints around industry, company or competitor performance and fed back for intelligence.

    The nature and provenance of the social commentary is established and management made aware of relevant issues and conversational opportunities. The key is the building of a relationship strategy which ensures issues and opportunities are addressed and targeted content developed. This material is primarily intended to enrich current conversations, but additionally spins off into traditional media adding further leverage to the conversations. Exposure across new and traditional media is then measured, tracked and fed back into the strategy.

    Taylor notes: “Social media conversations are uncontrollable. Many corporates see chaos out there, but you can bring coherence to chaos by tracking trends and identifying the influencers of the conversation and feeding them back into an overall strategy.

    “A major corporate cannot upend a trend if the issue excites social media users. But you can befriend the trend and own aspects of the conversation. On occasion you can bend the trend by including input that highlights different aspects of the subject.

    “Manipulation is impossible as self-interest is rapidly spotted. But the key lies in the more strategic and proactive approach to social media that is possible. Experience to date suggests tangible brand benefits are achievable.”

    The Magna Carta approach and social media innovation contains various components, mapping and strategy formulation, strategic implementation and influencer science.

    “We drive the philosophy that social technology has to be measurable,” says Taylor. “With the appropriate mix of tools it is possible to carry out a searching evaluation of a company’s social and communication landscape.

    “Once communities have been identified, a company can develop areas of mutual interest, ignite, join and spread conversations, host events and thank friends with significant impact on brands.

    “Live newsrooms can be created on a corporate website to aggregate social channels and ensure a credible destination for content. Networking through Twitter and Facebook attracts newsroom traffic while multimedia releases can be produced for placement in any media format.”

    A key positive is increased marketability of strategic services. “Billings are traditionally driven by PR implementation. SSS clients immediately recognise the value of the strategic element. Relationship strategy formulation therefore has the potential to add considerably to revenue streams while emphasising PR’s role as a strategic partner, she points out.

    “To date, the majority of those buying our strategy product have moved to the implementation phase and they are reaping significant rewards.”

    SSS and social media technology has also created the ‘citizen journalist’ opportunity. “SSS is best utilised by good corporate citizens offering good products and exceptional service who are open to comment and happy to engage in a permanent consumer conversation but who are following an overarching strategy in order to build their brand,” she says.

    “Strong brands were the earliest adopters. For them, building a long-term relationship with the customer is first prize and they have discovered a new corporate tool in SSS to help them do just that.”
    ENDS

    Issued by: Magna Carta
    Contact Person: Hilary Macaulay
    Email: hilary@magna-carta.co.za