How to use Social Media for Business? How can companies look and feel good on Social Media? And what kind of guidelines are needed? In this article, Stefanie Babka, Global Head of Employee Content and Media at Merck in Germany, presents the main topics discussed during the correspondent Think Thank at Global Female Leaders 2019 in Berlin.
Stefanie Babka studied business administration with focus on marketing at the university of applied sciences of Pforzheim and completed an additional degree as a PR consultant.
She has over ten years experience in the digital and social media sector within several large corporations (Daimler, GM, Nestlé, Merck). She is currently Global Head of internal Content and Media at Merck KGaA in Darmstadt.
She lives with her husband and children on the sunny Bergstrasse area between Frankfurt and Heidelberg. Stefanie Babka has published two books on social media, one with a focus on issues management and the other focusing on social media for executives.
Social Media usage Women vs. Men
According to a study by Brandwatch there are slightly more women using Social Media than men (76% vs. 72%). Women use Social Media mainly to stay in touch with their family and friends whereas men use it for information and influence.
How does Social Media help executives in their leadership?
According to a Weber Shandwick study there are great effects on the employees of a company if executives use Social Media. They asked 630 employees of mayor global companies and found out that 57% see company as more attractive if leadership is using Social Media Tools internally. 76% see company as more innovative if the board is using Social Media. Another study by brandfog comes to the conclusion that CEO‘s that are active in Social Media are considered better leaders by the majority of employees.
Executives can use Social Media for example for:
Leading by sharing ideas and visions (give direction)
Leading by listening (be informed and react emphatic)
Create Engagement by fostering an open discussion culture
Thought Leadership (internal and external politics)
Self-marketing and networking
Social Media is a leadership task. As Social Media affects almost all departments of a company it is important that the leadership invests some thoughts in an overall strategy to streamline those activities with a birds eye view.
Stefanie Babka, Global Head of Employee Content and Media, Merck, Germany
Questions by the participants that were discussed during the think tank:
How can I look and feel good on Social Media channels? Recommendations for self-presentation.
Where and how to draw the line between internal vs. external vs. private communications?
How to use Social Media channels to engage staff and what to do if staff won’t engage?
How can especially middle managers be convinced of the advantages of internal Social Networks (e.g. using it actively themselves)?
Do companies need SoME guidelines for employees on how to communicate on SoMe Channels?
What kind of guidelines you need for your team?
How to use Social Media for professional communications without spamming too much?
Use of Social Media in Relationship Building and Maintaining
Do employees enjoy the exchange on SoMe or is it an extra load of work on top?
Do CEOs need to be active on Social Media?
How often you should use Social Media on C-Level?
Self-Marketing on Social Media
The overall conclusion was that Executives should find their individual strategy for using Social Media. It does not make sense to do something one is not feeling comfortable with. Having a personal Social Media Account is not a hygiene factor. But monitoring your name in Social Media is. In case you decide for a public account the most important decision is to choose the right channel and format as channels differ in the expectations of the users. It is also possible for a senior leader to use the company account to publish quotes or to have the account managed by ghostbloggers. It can be beneficial to focus on a certain topic rather than posting general company information. (Thought leadership)
Social Media Governance
It makes sense to set up clear guidelines within a company as those barriers give the employees orientation and clarity on what is allowed to do and what not.
Social Media Engagement
Social Media users in average can roughly be clustered in active (1%), sometimes active (9%) and readers (90%). In order to raise the engagement in certain user groups like the middle management leaders can act as role models. If the leadership is using Social Media more managers and employees will follow the example. The effect of liking and commenting by a superior can be very high.