by Aaryn Lambert

    Digital and Social Media in the Energy Industry

    Lyle Wetsch has recently been recognized by Social Media Marketing Magazine as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors in the world on Twitter (#89 globally, #6 in Canada).

    The Time is Now!

    The world has gone digital! Think about your own personal life and your daily routine. What are some of the first things you do in the morning? Do you check your email on your iPhone or Blackberry? Do you log into Facebook? Do you read the news on your tablet computer while you are eating breakfast or having coffee? If you are a typical person, recent studies suggest that you will spend 22% of your time using some form of social media, twice as much time as any other online activity. Facebook, currently the largest social media site with over 750 million users worldwide, only recently celebrated its 7th birthday. Google+, the new kid on the block, grew to 25 million users in only 4 weeks while still in its limited beta release. The question that all companies, especially those in the energy industry need to be asking themselves is no longer “should we be using social media,” but rather “how should we be using social media.”.

    There are many ways that social media can be used to benefit organizations, regardless of their size or their industry. Social media has the power to assist you in achieving your corporate objectives beyond simple collaboration however. Whether it is locating and attracting potential employees through LinkedIn; monitoring and managing consumer perceptions through Facebook and Twitter; managing communications to different target groups through Google+; or using a combination of the tools to sell your products and services, communicate with current and potential investors, or deal with crisis management situations.

    The Accenture and Microsoft 2011 Survey of 205 oil and gas Industry professionals shows the following:

    • Collaboration is increasing with 34% spending more time collaborating in 2010 than in 2009.
    • Companies are adopting and providing social networks as business collaboration tools with over 74% of companies using public social media-tools
    • With an aging workforce, technology-driven access to people and information will lessen the impact of scarce skills and talent.
    • There is a growing need for technological capabilities to collaborate at any time, from anywhere.

    When you are thinking of how social media can be used effectively, you need to ensure that it is supporting your core organizational strategic objectives. Social media should be one component of a full digital marketing program that is part of an integrated marketing and communications plan that allows your existing strategic objectives to be achieved either more effectively, or more efficiently. If another tool or channel is more appropriate, be it digital or traditional, it should be used rather than social media.

    Think of the effective application of social media like a game of golf. Just because you have a new driver that is the best on the market, you do not just take that club to the course with you, you might carry up to 14 different clubs. The key to a great game of golf relies on three things: 1) given a particular lie of your ball, you need to know which club is most effective in that given situation, 2) you have to have that club available to you in your bag, and 3) when you take that club out of your bag, you need to be able to use it effectively. Likewise, with social media, you must be able to identify what the best channel is to use in a given situation, you have to have it available in your digital marketing toolbox, and you have to be able to utilize it effectively.

    You may also wish to investigate social-media training programs such as those offered by the Gardiner Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Newfoundland or through the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.


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