I took part in a really interesting panel discussion last week in London about social media, one that presented two sides of the business argument to the audience – for and against.
Social media for corporates: essential channel or unnecessary distraction on May 12 was hosted by media intelligence company Precise and supported by CorpComms magazine. My fellow panellists were Paul Charles, COO of Lewis PR, Peter Morgan, director of communications at Rolls-Royce (engines not cars), and Georgina Wald, corporate communications manager in the UK for Domino’s Pizza. The moderator was Helen Dunne, editor of CorpComms magazine.
Over the course of 90 minutes, our discussion crossed the spectrum of opinion on social media for business, ranging from how to embrace it to why to ignore it.
I’m squarely in the camp of ‘how to embrace it.’ I’d venture to say with some confidence that Paul and Georgina are, too. Peter, in contrast, was very much not, famously declaring that "Twitter is twaddle."
You can see the ideas from the ’embrace it’ gang of 3 in Tips from the masters (PDF), a document produced by Precise and given to everyone there. It includes much of Why social media matters, the paper I wrote last week for this event.
I’m not going to fill this post with my opinion or a blow-by blow account of the event – read the next edition of CorpComms magazine for a detailed report. Instead, let me highlight some of the comments people in the audience of 80 or so made on Twitter via the event hashtag #smexchange as they reacted with their thoughts on what the panel members were talking about.
- CorpCommsMag: Off to moderate @PreciseExchange where experts inc @Jangles will debate social media for comps – does it matter?
- rosschestney: Paul Charles – social media is just another channel – an essential part of the toolkit for crisis comms.
- corpcommsdigi: Comms directors need to be treating #socialmedia as a crisis tool says @ppaulcharles
- katefairhurst: Paul charles -Provide staff with guidelines but do not seek to control what they say
- katefairhurst: Peter morgan – if negative publicity surfaces on twitter you’ll be alerted by the traditional media anyway. Aaargh!
- rosschestney: Peter Morgan – we are living in a world where nonsense is being talked about social media
- PreciseExchange: Peter Morgan: negative tweets about brands no less alarming than complaints in pub 10yrs ago
- BDOaccountantPR: Peter Morgan from Rolls Royce v funny making the case against soc media. Says beware of diverting resources frm other channels.
- katefairhurst: Neville Hobson, WCG "social media a tremendous listening tool… about forming new connections" hooray!
- JThomlinson: It’s all called off very negatively. "Social Media is a load of twoddle" – Peter Morgan, Rolls Royce
- rosschestney: Neville Hobson – allows us to fine tune who we pay attention to for competitve advantage or early warning
- rosschestney: Georgina Wald – facebook more important than Twitter. Twitter has an older demographic.
- rosschestney: Georgna Wald – biggest issue for comms is resourcing for social media. It’s 24 hours, but we’re not resourced for 24 hour ops.
- rosschestney: Peter Morgan – social media for customer comms is important. Not for Corp reputation.
- tayloff: Up bright and early for a social media seminar. Paul Charles from Lewis PR says Soc Media is just another Comms channel. Agree!
- bookmarklee: RT @BDOaccountantPR: Paul Charles says Soc Media is just another Comms channel. #smexchange // Albeit a 2 way one. Not a broadcast channel.
- rosschestney: Neville Hobson – it’s about knowing who’s influencing your brand
- katefairhurst: Neville Hobson really talking sense [Heh, how could I not impartially and objectively include such a smart comment from Kate?]
- tayloff: Paul Charles says Twitter is like a company’s shop window. You need to have a decent display.
- JThomlinson: "Good social media engagement should always be about the brand"
- corpcommsdigi: Gr8 thing about facebook- fans become #brand advocates + fight ur critics says @georginawald
- paulcrouch: Wouldn’t agree sm is a shop window. Your window is your website, sm is the people stood outside handing out flyers
- JThomlinson: Hoping we move onto something else other than Twitter soon. Where’s Facebook, YouTube, blogs, Wiki, forums, search…
- JThomlinson: Feel like Peter Morgan is ignoring the disproportionate amount of attention juornos pay to sm
- rosschestney: Neville Hobson – social media press release hasn’t really been adopted.
- largeburrito: RT @lewispr_uk: RT @katefairhurst: Paul Charles from Lewis PR "companies should treat Twitter as crisis comms tool"
- rosschestney: Peter Morgan – most enthusiastic about use of social media for internal communications
- corpcommsdigi: Another great @PreciseExchange. Thanx to speakers and the packed audience. writeup on CorpComms site soon
So that will give you a very good sense of the topics addressed as well as what some in the audience thought.
One illustrative use of the value of social media, in this case Twitter and a hashtag.
Look out for a full report on Social media for corporates: essential channel or unnecessary distraction in the next edition of CorpComms magazine.