A guest post by Stan Duncan, Senior Executive Vice President of U.S. Human Resources and Global Head of Management for Westfield, LLC.
At Westfield social media is considered more than just an ecommerce and marketing tool, it’s also an important listening tool. Through our research we’ve found that listening to our customers and employees on social media channels can help improve corporate communications, employee engagement, and market-research.
Listening to Customers
As a global company, one of our challenges is segmenting our audience and learning what works in different markets. Westfield uses Facebook to create brand pages for each mall and develop online communities in cities across the globe. With these pages we can learn which discounts and benefits our customers respond to and which stores they are interested in.
Beyond market research, we’re interested in learning how to create value for Westfield through social media. A great example is our Westfield Australia social media program. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, the Westfield Australia team uses Pinterest and a blog, authored by Westfield Insider Alyce, to connect with customers online. The blog and Pinterest offer a unique value to the online experience and ultimately help lead the customer to the product.
Listening to Employees
The second important element of Westfield’s social media strategy is listening and learning from employees. Social media, while multi-faceted, is simply another communication tool. We use social media to learn how we can improve internal communication and employee engagement.
As an internal communications initiative to increase collaboration, we’ve begun a pilot program with Yammer, a private social network for enterprises. The program has been kicked off in Australia and the United Kingdom and we have plans to integrate the social network globally. With Yammer, Westfield employees can share ideas and find expertise, answers and information across departments, geographies and levels. We’ve seen early efficiencies across business units through this simple social media collaboration tool.
A Competitive Strength
A well thought-out social media strategy does not always entail a fancy, flashy campaign or celebrity endorsement. We’ve learned that a majority of the benefits of social media come from listening. While there is no right or wrong way to approach social media as part of your marketing and communications efforts, our investment to social-listening has become a competitive strength for Westfield in the industry. So next time you like something Westfield did or thought we could have done it better, feel free to share that information with us online – we’d love to hear your thoughts!