Leading in the New Normal

Hootsuite hosted an executive roundtable with Raconteur and Damian Corbet, discussing how organisations can take advantage of new ways to engage digitally and socially with customers
Hootsuite roundtable

The importance of social channels in enabling effective internal and external communication during the pandemic means that ‘social transformation’ is becoming an increasingly significant element of many organisations’ wider digital transformation strategies. 

According to Damian Corbet, founder of social media services firm The Social C-Suite and author of ‘The Social CEO’, this “mini revolution in how people engage” has led to “leaders finally seeing how important digital and social media are” in ensuring a positive employee and customer experience. http://ow.ly/Y7DF30rlOjg

While some are “still pushing back and feeling forced into it”, many more are starting to understand the “massive advantage” of being able to interact with stakeholders in this way and realise “there is no going back”, he told an executive roundtable in late November, which was jointly hosted by social media management platform provider, Hootsuite, and business publisher, Raconteur.

Mark Abrami, a principal consultant at Hootsuite, pointed to the fact that, while consumers have wanted to use digital and social media to engage with brands for some time, there has been a “disconnect” due to brands themselves being over-cautious and therefore sticking to what they already know works.

Because the pandemic has “forced the situation” though, “there’s now a greater alignment with what people want, and we’re finally at a point where the theory is meeting the practice”, he said.

The fact that organisations have “just had to do it” has led to a “reset of behaviour and perception”, believes Margarete McGrath, chief digital officer for Dell Technologies UK. This reset will, among other things, encourage the uptake of emerging technologies that “drive a better consumer and employee experience” – and “the more immersive you can make it the better”, she said.

Moreover, the current lack of standard blueprint for how to do things any more now means businesses have an opportunity to challenge both themselves and their assumptions, a situation that will inevitably spark innovation.

As Mr Corbet said: “We have to adapt as an evolutionary response and navigate novelty as a way of doing business. That means leaders adopting an explorer’s mind set to navigate this weird new world and embrace change rather than be afraid.”

The importance of purpose and trust

But social media teams also play an important supporting role here in listening and gathering intelligence to help organisations adapt effectively to changing customer values and ways of transacting, which includes in many instances taking a more purpose-led approach. http://ow.ly/Y7DF30rlOjg

Doing so is important, indicated David Bailey, head of communications for national enabling programmes at the UK’s National Police Chiefs Council, because ultimately it is about forging a “connection with the digital citizen”.

“It’s not just about visibility and there being ‘this percentage of people who follow us’,” he said. “It’s also about building trust relationships and understanding how many people trust us.”

Mr Corbet agreed. “Trust is vital as it goes to the wider remit of how the organisation and CEO are perceived. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, CEOs are consistently seen as more trustworthy arbiters of truth than other leaders, and that has to be leveraged more,” he said.

Another important component in enabling trust involves building and leveraging online communities, something that will become increasingly important over the year ahead.

“How you build, nurture and develop communities online is a big challenge, but we will see the rise of formal community builders,” said Ms McGrath. “They may not be the most senior people in the organisation but they will be the most connected and it’ll be their job to run communities online and make them both creative and interactive.”

What this all means is that there is “no going back on the new normal”, believes Flavia Brown, customer success director at Raconteur. As social media has become increasingly key in helping brands develop positive customer and employee relationships, it has also assumed a progressively significant role in their digital transformation strategies.

For more information go to Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends 2021 report

In partnership with Hootsuite