Big Corporation’s Social Media Dilemma: All or Nothing?

Big Corporation’s Social Media Dilemma: All or Nothing?

Social media is one of the rare segments in business where small companies and big corporations have a more even playing field. It’s not uncommon for some major corporations with billions of revenue to have a minimal social media presence while some much smaller companies and even start-ups to have a major social media presence. This can be due to a multitude of factors, for example big corporations might think that social media presence isn’t going to increase their bottom line or add value to their companies in any concrete way (although we at social media stuff think that this is definitely a misconception!), while small companies can leverage on social media by amplifying their presence and spread their awareness to a large audience with a relatively lower cost compared to traditional advertising channel.

Recently I encountered an interesting event that might shed some interesting perspectives on the adoption of social media by major big corporations around the world. This summer, I interned at a Multi-National Corporation (MNC); at the end of the internship the Head of Graduate Recruitment organized a focus group for all the interns to suggest how the company can improve its graduate recruitment process and any other improvements that can be made to the internship program.

During the discussion one intern suggested using social media to boost the company’s visibility to the fresh graduates since many of them are heavy social media users. She suggested the company to post and share any related opportunities available for the fresh graduates through various social media channels, and also to make the company’s social media livelier by engaging more with the social media users. This was a creative and daring idea and naturally there were some opinions regarding the effectiveness of social media in helping the graduate recruitment process. However the most critical issue is actually the difficulty and lengthy approval process needed to post or share anything on social media as pointed out by the Head of Graduate Recruitment. He mentioned that anything that’s intended to be share on social media must be submitted to the head office at London and be approved by various departments first, and often the interesting and lighted hearted content can’t be approved due to compliance and some internal policy issue. Major corporations often want to maintain a consistent image that they are projecting; therefore they are usually very careful and selective in what to share publicly, this risk-averse mentality further make the execution of an effective social media strategy more difficult. Plus there isn’t a dedicated team that’s responsible for the execution of social media operations, so employees in the firm tend to prioritize other tasks over this as it’s not their main responsibility. Therefore, although our company has presence in many social media channels, it hasn’t been very successful in utilizing it.

However, we do see some corporations and MNCs that have successfully utilized social media to their advantage, such companies usually have a very targeted social media strategy and how to execute it properly, to tackle the issues mentioned previously, they need to put in significant resources to streamline the whole social media operations of or even outsource it to some specialist company to do it. Those major corporations that can align their social media strategy with their entire marketing and branding efforts will be able to reap its benefits by having a stronger presence in a space where the younger generation spends a significant amount of their time in.

Throughout these analyses we can understand that a half-hearted approach in social media wouldn’t work for major corporations, they should either abandon the social media space entirely and redirect their efforts at other channels or devote a significant efforts and resources to make their social media strategy effective and worthwhile. The trade-off is clearly there and I would say there’s no right or wrong answer to it. Some major corporations might not need social media exposure due to the industry they are operating in, while some major corporations definitely need to devote a significant amount of resources into this channel to get in touch with their potential or current clients.

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