It’s obvious that companies in these type of industries are struggling with social media: social networks are designed to bring together people and share content, but consulting firms don’t want to connect some people and it shouldn’t share all its content.
How can consulting firms engage in a way that maintains control?
In our study, we argue that it isn’t possible for companies to control what users are doing. Instead, companies must be selective about how they engage.
Today, McKinsey manages this challenge with industry-specific social media accounts. Thus, it can target messages to specific, self-identified clusters of interested influencers without broadcasting generally.
The firm also can utilize the unique demographics and norms of the varying platforms to its advantage. Whereas Facebook is a broad discovery platform and Twitter is an influencer discussion space, LinkedIn provides McKinsey with an excellent, ‘corporate’ platform to publish its content. On LinkedIn, expectations around civility are heightened, as community norms are closer to corporate norms.
It comes down to understanding the reactions and engagement likely to follow the content that is posted for each channel.
As a result of the study, we recommend McKinsey should sharpen its social media platform strategy by
- Focusing their social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn as platforms
- Applying tactics to increase engagement with target key influencers on these focus platforms
- Strengthening the social media presence of individual partners and McKinsey’s employee network
Ultimately, companies seeking confidentiality and reputation can best reach their goals of creating customer awareness and potentially attracting talent by minimizing exposure to the broader audience and engaging only with target influencers.
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