Sage’s group head of communications Ralph Charlton said the firm had a social media strategy before Kelly’s arrival last November but the new boss gave it a “significant impetus” with his personal Twitter account.
“Before we only had a Twitter page for corporate news and feeds from Sage plc and other Twitter handles to raise awareness about issues relating to SMEs,” he explained. “A few years back Twitter was just an extension of a company’s media relations team. Now there has been an internal shift and it is used everywhere such as customer support, crowdsourcing ideas for R&D and to improve products and customer experience. It’s a great way of having a 2 way conversation.”
Charlton said Kelly sees social media as an “essential part of a modern, vibrant and open organisation”.
Kelly’s personal account, Charlton said, sits neatly alongside the company’s accounts and is self-penned and managed. “His account is his account. He knows that as a chief executive he represents Sage more than any other employee and he takes responsibility for that,” he explained. “His passion is SME business and technology and his feed reflects that talking for example about the benefits of mobiles.”
There is collaboration with the communications team on Kelly’s personal page. Kelly and Charlton help devise a content strategy for the feed with general themes and ideas they would like to raise and discuss with followers.
“We work on it with him and set out the outline. But he presses the button,” Charlton said. “I really don’t know what he is going to tweet! On occasion I feel I need to keep an eye on what he is tweeting but there is a lot of trust there.”
Tomorrow, find out how social media training, supplied by third parties and in-house, are used to reinforce these messages as well as inspire staff to set up their own Twitter accounts…