In this exclusive interview, we feature Isman Tanuri (Social Media Enthusiast / Marketing Communications Executve, HRG Singapore). It was quite a pleasure talking to Isman over coffee as we discussed about the merits of social media within a company environment.
Isman works as a Marketing Communications Executive for HRG Singapore and is a very avid fan of social media. You can read more about the cool stuff that he writes about via his blog and you can follow him on his Twitter account.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video are the personal views of the interviewee and and do not necessarily represent the philosophy or viewpoints of their organization or clients.
Transcript of the Interview
My name is Isman. Professionally I’m a communications guy at Hogg Robinson. I’m trying to build a community to make clients more aware of what we are doing because it’s a very “invisible” industry. I’m trying to get people to be more aware of what we do by putting out the stories that revolve around the people and the company. For example, my company was involved in the last World Cup … things like that which keep the audience interested in a very informal way. That’s mostly what my role is right now.
Social Media Interests
Personally I’m very much interested in seeing how social media can be translated into a vehicle “within” a company instead of just looking at it from a marketing perspective or from a public relations standpoint. I think that there is so much potential within the company. There are so much more things which can be done on how we communicate, how we share, and interact with our employees and colleagues. Unless you are really groundbreaking in your approach, most people would still think that social media is still a marketing tool and is more like reaching out to customers. But like what I have mentioned, it’s a good tool for brand building within your employees as well.
So where do we start?
That would have to happen from the top. It has to be the directive of a business leader to adopt a much more open environment for communication. Naturally, anyone in business would initially feel against being so open because they fear that competitors might know about the “this and that” of their company. But companies like Zappos (and locally like The Garden Slug) have proven that as long as you are truthful, as long as you are transparent with your clients and employees and as long as you get things done … business can still be profitable. How exactly can being open harm a business really? By taking away your customers? It’s only natural for such a thing to happen with or without being open. We just need to get them back if that happens. Being more receptive to open communication within the office environment will result to productivity, transparency, honesty and many more things like that.
The issue of privacy and sharing
I think the crux of the matter is that people perceive privacy as something that is holy and it’s something that is on a pedestal. People mistake that with being open and there’s a difference between the two. I have an open Facebook and Twitter account and for me it’s a matter of what you share rather than trying to keep it all in thinking that anything you share will come back to haunt you. If people are educated enough to know what they can share and can’t share then I think there would be no problem and it will make a lot of difference.
Loving your career can do wonders
You have to be happy coming to work and essentially loving your career in order to make the difference and to be able to share the virtues of your company and brand. I’m sure it won’t work for everyone within the company but as long as someone or something out there is making your life better it probably will. Love and affection can do wonders to a brand. Just take a look at the number of Apple fanatics out there. These people are not even paid by Apple to be outspoken for their brand.
Turning employees into brand evangelists
My experience of producing public content concerning the brand I work for and by sharing it with colleagues has taught me a lot. I believe that if a person is happy and contented with work, they will be more than happy to share content on their own network that will be good for the brand. Everything will stem from that. It’s ok to share something that concerns work. But then again it comes back to the question of reeling an employee to become an evangelist for your brand. So I would take you back to the idea of creating a culture of open communication within your company. That’s very important if you want to turn your employees into brand ambassadors. And it also would help if you would start to explore social media, Facebook for example, for the office. I really believe in the potential of tapping those tools.
The merits of failure
Today my blog post revolved around complaining about something. I believe that complaining is good also and that failure is fine since it’s also about learning. But even if I think that it’s fine, sometimes bad things will happen on your social media page. So there needs to be a policy in place that can clearly define what you can and cannot say about the company. Everything you do there should have a particular plan set in place.
Why the sudden need for a policy about social media?
Well it’s a new thing you know. You might get fired because you’re on Facebook. It’s still not de facto standard that’s why there’s a need for some sort of guidelines for that. The perspective that social media is open and all that, there’s the fear in there as well.
What other things do you want to find out about more?
I’m interested to find out what social media has done within organizations. I was once within an organization where we had our own Facebook, our own Twitter, our own Wiki platform and anything that was meant to be collaborative and social. It was there. But the failure was that there was nobody driving the adoption of the tools. No one was telling everybody to go out and be there and use the tools. I thought that it was sad. So now I want to know what the big companies are doing about the adoption. Do they build things just for the sake of building things? Or is there a particular need or vision for building that platform?
Has marketing tainted social media?
I don’t come from such a total mindset. I think it is fine yes. But one thing I don’t quite understand is why some companies are so in love with social media (in terms of engaging with customers) but they are not harnessing the power of the medium internally. There’s really something wrong with that you know.