By adaptive - April 1st, 2013

Simon Nicholson, Social Media Manager at Honda Motor Europe shares how to map your social structure for 2013.

Simon Nicholson is the Social Media manager for Honda Europe, where he is responsible for social media strategy and structure in the region. Simon began his digital/social career at Microsoft Europe based in Brussels working in online communications. He then moved on to join SDL where he was responsible for social media, which in time developed into a broader digital marketing role in the company. Now at Honda Motor Europe in his current role, it is his ambition to continue to develop and innovate Honda's social media activities in the region.

Useful Social Media: How did your organisation approach the mapping of your enterprise to identify where social media should reside in the corporate structure? 

SN: Social Media at its core is communication and creating a relationship with the public so PR is a good area to build a foundation. However, to build an integrated approach you cannot work just within a single department, it needs to be pan-brand. Within Honda I work to channel multiple departments communications through social media but also to feed back data from social such as listening into various departments. The main thing is communication between departments, and the role of the specialist is to help create that.

Useful Social Media: What is your advice to organisations that are beginning to map their own corporate structure with the view to embedding social media activity within their enterprise?  

SN: You don't need an army of social media specialists. The most important thing for social media is to first understand your communications objectives and how they are connected between departments. If this is clear, then mapping the corporate structure is just a case of creating a system for communication between departments, and then from the departments to those operating in the social media space. Tradition structures still apply (PR Marketing etc.) but they need to be more integrated to reflect the spectrum of customer journeys and communications points you have in social.

Useful Social Media: Clearly it is important to create a unified face from multiple departments when using social media. How has your company developed its organisational plan to ensure that each department’s social media activity is coordinated?  

SN: An internal communications and collaboration tool helps support the dissemination across departments and countries. Beyond this, it is also important to spend time to understand each department’s goals. Rather than changing the organisational structure, we concentrated on how we can be more transparent and communicate across the department boundaries. 

Useful Social Media: Can you outline a recent social media campaign and explain how this was coordinated across your business?  

SN: For Geneva Motor Show we coordinated with departments across Europe to gather information to what visual content they would require for their community management. This process was managed within our internal collaboration tool. Once we had all the ideas centrally we proposed a content plan, which was then delivered live to the markets during the motor show. 


Useful Social Media: Has your company developed a comprehensive social media policy that all departments contributed to and now follow during each new campaign? What are its main components?  

SN: There is not a strict policy for departments, we just ensure that campaigns meet strategic expectations with their alignment to brand strategy and also ensure that the correct data has been used to drive the campaign. (ie social analytics, listening data etc.). We also ask that campaign feedback is fed back so we can learn across the region. 


Useful Social Media: Are there any specific tools you employ that help your business manage its social media activity across multiple departments?

SN: We use our own internal communication and collaboration tool. Also 
Adobe social for CMS and Salesforce Marketing Cloud for listening, reports and engagement. 


Useful Social Media : How do you see the management and development of social media in your company evolving over the next few years?  

SN: I believe it will develop in a similar way we have seen the management of digital marketing change over the years. Things that were quite innovative a few years ago such as using a social CMS is now common practice, and campaigns are being created that are driven more from data analysis, than pure 'creative' ideas.
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