Going Digital - Part Three

Part 3: A Cultural Shift

Virtually everyone who is familiar with our digital journey knows the story of how we lost access to our Facebook page. Well, not so much how, but more so the fact that just around the time when we were set with our digital strategy and ready to launch new Facebook and Twitter pages we found that in the time that had passed since our first attempt at using social media we had lost access to both our original page and the email account we used to create it!

The only thing more unbelievable than this scenario is the fact that we are not the only organisation that it has happened to. But at least I can speak from experience when I tell you that developing a proper system for password and account management is an essential, but often overlooked, element of any digital policy. We learned that one the hard way.

So, what do you do when one of the things that can go wrong, does indeed go wrong? Well, if you’re in the process of emerging as a technologically driven organisation you turn to technology to solve your problem of course! In this case, we relied on the cyber security tool, Zero Fox to regain access to our old page and eventually take it down and we finally launched our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages in 2017.

But taking these platforms and using them to build the kind of community we’d imagined would take more than strategy and technological tools. It also required people, both within and outside of our organisation.

Internally, it called for us to change our culture, our ways of thinking and communicating as an organisation and to refine some of our processes. It required a cultural shift. To kick-start this change, we engaged key members of staff from all of our communications teams across the Republic Group in extensive social media training at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business to help build the capacity of our teams to fully take advantage of the opportunities presented by the use of social media and other digital tools.

We also restructured our department to include a new unit focussed entirely on digital strategy and data analysis and a unit solely dedicated to managing our social media channels. Together these units ensured that we were not only creating digital content that was engaging and helpful but also that we were fully leveraging our digital tools to identify key performance metrics, track the performance of our posts and campaigns and guide our wider team in learning from our experiences, and plan accordingly for future activities.

We also had some fun! We held competitions and giveaways both internally and externally to encourage persons to follow our pages and like our posts. One of the biggest successes for us was that most of those people have stayed with us as our page has grown and have continued to engage us on our pages. This was one of the first signs, that we were finally getting it right.

One of the biggest challenges for us, as a team, was moving away from the broadcast or one-way communication style that is common with traditional media to a two-way approach that sought to engage the right customers in dialogue at the right time and through the right channels. We’ve slowly phased out the email blasts, brochures and billboards of the past and are really putting our energy into bringing valuable, personalised messages to our customers.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson that we have learned from this experience is that digital transformation works best when it’s part of a wider plan or a vision for your organisation. The next most valuable lesson learned, would be that a digital transformation is never really complete. We are constantly refining our voice, our approach and our tools to meet the changing capabilities of new and emerging technologies and the changing needs of our customers. Next week, in my final post of this series, I’ll share some of the ways we’re planning on evolving next.

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