Corporate use of social media by Coralie Vrancken

October 15, 2011

In a recent blog post, social media analyst Dan Schawbel interviews Jason Falls, co-author of the recently published No Bulls**t Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing. One of the questions is this: How do you know if you’re using social media incorrectly? What are the signs? Here is Falls’ answer:

No Bullshit Social Media cover by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers

No Bullshit Social Media cover by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers

If you’re not meeting your goals, or more specifically, if you’re treading water and hearing nothing but crickets chirping from your audience. Whether it’s producing content, pushing coupons or deals or soliciting feedback from an audience, if you’re not getting interaction, downloads, comments, transactions, etc., then you’re not doing it well enough. It may not be wrong … just not compelling. Companies that are making progress in their social activities are seeing comments, interactions, responses and the like. But they are also seeing business metrics moved … downloads, registrations, issues resolved, purchases. (Source:

It is difficult to be clearer. Now, this reminds me of a conversation I had some time ago with Coralie Vrancken. I think her research reveals some useful tips that have not yet been grasped by corporate actors that want to embrace social media and is completely in line with what Mitch Joel declares in a recent post on his Six Pixels of Separations blog under the title “The ‘I Like You’ Myth”. Here are Coralie Vrancken’s conclusions and advice.

The use of social networks by companies

As a corporate and marketing communications student, I had to carry an academic work which provided me with the opportunity to briefly analyze the use of social networks by big enterprises. Through interviews with actors and observers of social networks (a digital consultant, a communication manager of a FMCG distribution group, a professor and a journalist), I compiled a non-exhaustive list of recommendations aimed at companies that want to integrate social networks or improve their current strategy.

Before going further, it is important to know that social networks are not confined to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as many think: there are specific platforms that can be created by companies themselves (for example for the customers), as Unilever ® and Lego ® have done – but it is necessary to remain careful when doing that: there is a risk to end up with a community too closed in on itself. On the other hand, niche networks exist, which may be of interest to create or reach more specific communities. Finally, a lot of people forget that Youtube, Flickr, Viadeo, Skyrock, Unyk, MySpace and many others are also social networks.

Before being/speaking on social networks :

  • Twitter and Facebook should not be considered as broadcasting channels for press releases : they both require specific language and content.
  • A blog is a social network because it brings together a community of individuals motivated by the same values or interests.
  • Take the time to do an audit of the company’s current presence on the internet and define clear objectives and the plan to implement to achieve them.
  • Do not want at all costs be present on social networking: not all companies need it. The audit helps to understand if the business of the company requires a social network strategy or not.

Already using social networks :

  • A positive prescription from a user regarding goods or brands is the best advertising there is: indeed, the person making the recommendation involves him/herself.
  • It is important to let customers discuss about the product and the brand, even if they make negative comments, and listen to what he said : this is one of the best ways to learn how to adjust a product or a campaign and to show to customers that the company is attentive to its clients.
  • The company must be clear on its intentions when it speaks on social networks : surfers know when something is going wrong.
  • To identify oneself on social networks : if you are the community manager, say it.
  • Give a personal tone of voice to each speech of the company (some will use copywriters and storytellers but this can be discussed).
  • Be humble, publicly admit that the firm perhaps made a mistake
  • To accept criticism and and turn it into valuable information.
  • To get involved in the speeches, to be across the counter
  • To create content, to give added value to the information
  • Be creative, don’t hesitate to ask for the customers help and ideas

Going further :

  • Develop a complementary set of tools: websites, blogs and social networks do not have the same utility. They must complete and send to each other.
  • Results can be quantified and network management can be facilitated by a multitude of tools as instruments for analyzing frequency of visits, aggregators of social networks and RSS feeds, and monitoring tools (essential).
  • Set up a very well organized monitoring

Coralie Vrancken is completing a Corporate Communications Master’s degree at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and holds a degree from the Université de Liège in Media and Communications. She is going to be an intern in 2012 at PRIDETBWA, after three internships at Base Design, the Diplomatic World Magazine and Phoenix Inverstor Relations. Her interests include branding, e-communication, business development, (social) media monitoring, research, public relations and women entrepreneurship.

Related post: The Do’s and Dont’s of Social Media

Like this? Share it!

1 Comment. Leave new

I suggest adding a facebook like button for the blog!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.