Perhaps one of the toughest challenges I faced when I started my first job as a Communication Coordinator was convincing the organization the importance of social media. I think this is an issue many people in our field might initially face as a lot of employers still do not see the potential in online communication.
First, the department I worked for was the Youth Directorate. Second, there was no sign of any social media platforms. Do you see the humor in this? The first task on the job was to alert ‘the youth’ about the upcoming Outstanding Youth Achievement Awards. My first reaction was to use Facebook, but my boss was quick to say “no we have always used email and it seems to work fine”. Okay, well “fine” isn’t good nor measurable. So I began to implement a social media strategy.
My boss did eventually allow me to set up a Facebook page and I was able to get in touch with ‘the youth’. However, don’t even get me started on Twitter; my boss flat out denied my request multiple times, but when we didn’t see enough nominations I set up a Twitter account. Initially, I did go against his word, but I felt that it was my job to spread the message and by not having Twitter I was not properly doing my job. So it is tough to decide when and where to draw the line between what your boss says and doing your job.
Usually, the organization would receive about four nominations but after I implemented a social media strategy (upon resistance) we received a total of 14 nominations. Now, that may not seem like a whole lot, but it was over double the usual amount. Thus, to get to my point, social media engagement may not always be easy to measure, but in this case, the number of nominations spoke for the effectiveness of social media.
I have found with most of the jobs I have worked at had no idea why social media even mattered. Yes, organizations are beginning to a become a lot more tech-savvy and are starting to accept it’s usefulness. However, that does not mean that you won’t face resistance or even be questioned if what you are doing is working.
Luckily for us, we are trained to do this. So, know your objective and start from there!