Grasp the nettle. That’s the message from Y&R Group’s report released this month. As painful and risky as implementing a social media strategy may be, it must be done. As Y&R Group CEO, Russel Howcroft, says, “Social is the new Media. It’s that simple. And that’s scary.”

Intended as an introductory guide to writing a social media plan, the ‘Social Media in Business‘ report covers seven strategies, or key areas, where social media is being effectively utilised by Australian brands: listening, customer service, crisis management, content distribution, recruitment, community management and internally.

As a snapshot of the current Australian social media scene, it includes some interesting nuggets. The consistency of airline brands, the inconsistency of telcos, and the non-existence of energy and insurance brands on Australia’s social media landscape are there to see (or not see), but it’s Holden’s complete dominance above all others in the industry and the country that stands out.

For each of the seven areas, the risks and benefits are weighed, and real-life examples are given to illustrate best practice. Two, more extensive, case studies are included at the end of the document, the first detailing Gatorade’s ‘Mission Control‘ set-up, through which the sports drink brand listens, converses with and tracks their social media followers.

The second case study documents PC manufacturer Dell’s journey from ‘Dell Hell’ in 2005, sparked by one comment:

“I just got a new Dell laptop and paid a fortune for the four-year, in- home service. The machine is a melon and the service is a lie…. DELL SUCKS DELL LIES. Put that in your Google and smoke it, Dell.”

The report demonstrates the steps Dell took to achieve $6.5 million in sales via Twitter alone in 2010. The organic approach to platform adoption the brand took demonstrates how simply this channel can impact sales, but emphasis is placed on the fact there is no one-size-fits-all solution for social media. The seven key areas are detailed for brands to consider, with the challenge being choosing the right combination of strategies for each brand’s situation.


Grab the free report here, and let us know what you think via Twitter and/or Facebook.