The advent of social media has enabled quick communication between companies and their stakeholders. Many companies are increasingly following the euphoria of using social media for both internal and external communication. One of the companies that has extensively used social media is Nokia, which uses its official blog for both internal and external communication (Rooney, 2012).
For a long time, Nokia has been the world’s number one phone manufacturer. However, Samsung dethroned the Finnish company in 2012 to become the world’s biggest handset maker (Olson, 2012). Even as the company struggled to wade off competition from Apple and Samsung, it also had troubles with sales and profitability, finally selling to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. Currently, Microsoft is attempting to revamps Nokia, selling smartphones and feature phone under its Microsoft Lumia name, and running its Windows operating system.
Even in taking over Nokia’s mobile business unit, Microsoft has maintained one of Nokia’s longstanding communication channels via the company’s official blog. With the blog’s landing page as http://lumiaconversations.microsoft.com/category/news/, the blog continues to be an important part of the company’s communication with both the external and internal stakeholders. The blog features news on the company’s products and events sponsored by the company. It also has a features’ section on updates to the software, applications and the impact of the company’s products to the consumers. The blog additionally features a “connects”, @Work and press sections. The @Work section highlights the importance and real life stories of individuals enhancing their work experience using the company’s devices.
Microsoft’s Lumia Conversations blog is one of the most important of the company’s customer relations platform. Through the blog, the company has not only been able to inform customer on new products and updates to the company’s devices and services, but also as a means of delivering apologies. Through the blog, Microsoft delivered an apology over a misleading video showing the capability of the company’s Lumia 920, while indeed a professional camera was used for the video shoot (Delaney, 2012; Rooney, 2012).
Microsoft additionally uses the blog as a marketing tool. Currently on the blog is a poll to gather user behavior on their smartphones. The polls on the most widely used app by the user are one among a series of polls the company has run on the blog. Other polls for research purposes have included questions on users’ favorite games on Windows Phone and what the users love most about the company’s products. Through the polls therefore, Microsoft is capable of conducting market research on its products, as well as deliver unwelcome news, such as the absence of Google Maps on the Windows Phone operating system, and be able to gauge its customer’s response and reactions to such news.
Part of the purpose of the Microsoft blog is to build an online community. Both guest and employees of the company can write articles, which are posted on the blog. Moreover, the blog has an interactive segment at the end of each article, using Disqus, which allows both readers and the author to interact and converse on the content of the article. So far, this has helped build an online community where users comment and share experiences on the use of the company’s devices. Through such conversations, the company has been able to collect information on users’ likes and dislikes of their products and make necessary adjustments.
Internal communication remains an integral part of the company. Microsoft, following the tradition set by Nokia, continues to use the blog for internal communication. The company runs its internal BlogHub, which one of the most powerful and effective social media tool used internally. BlogHub allows member to comment and share ideas on matters that are relevant to the employees and the company. BlogHun is one of the most advanced blogs, having an embedded search engine that allows employees to search for information relevant to them. The blog additionally helps the management in the collection of feedback from the employees as well as keep in touch with current discussions in the company.
While blogging may have potential benefits to the company, it also carries with it potential risks. One of the most pressing of these risks is reputation. It is very possible for a blogger to mention things that harm the company’s reputation (Merrill et al., 2011). Any negative comments by bloggers have the potential of spreading to the wider customer base, and in so doing harming the company’s reputation.
Additionally, blog largely allow for open comments on articles written by the company-conscripted bloggers. While the blogger may have the interests of the company at heart, other users may not and may therefore change the message. It is therefore very possible that the company will lose control over the message that goes to the public. Moreover, companies usually start blogs and do little to maintain the discussion. Neglecting the blog thus only helps to alienate customers from the company.
Blogging additionally poses a risk to the company, especially concerning intellectual property rights. Some bloggers can easily copy material from other sources without prior permission from the source. This may present the company with legal problems, which not only harms the company’s reputation but finances as well.
Delaney, I. (2012). An apology is due. Retrieved from http://lumiaconversations.microsoft.com/2012/09/06/an-apology-is-due/
Merrill, T. et al. (2011). Social Media: The business benefits may be enormous, but can the risks-reputational, legal, operational—be mitigated? Information Law Group
Olson, P. (2012). Samsung dethrones Nokia as world’s biggest handset maker. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2012/04/27/samsung-tops-nokia-as-worlds-biggest-handset-maker/
Rooney, B. (2012). Nokia apologizes for misleading Lumia video. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2012/09/06/nokia-apologizes-for-misleading-lumia-video/