FRIDAY 11 JUL 2014 3:07 PM


An organisation’s digital team should not fix computers. Or build websites. Or get rid of viruses. It is not IT, Tim Lloyd, head of digital communications at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) says.

At last night’s CIPR Social Media Panel Social Shorts event, Lloyd discussed the ways in which digital should be better integrated into a company’s overall communications strategy both in terms of messaging and in people management. One of Lloyd’s core messages was that a company does not need a separate digital team to add to a good communications plan; digital should just be part of that plan inherently.

This is the way in which thinking about digital and social use in communications has been moving recently. Gone are the days of digital acting as an add-on function or as a specialist area of communications. Everyone in comms, Lloyd and many others say, should be trained in and think about using digital on the job.

Organisations like BIS, which are large, bureaucratic and hierarchical should objectively have trouble putting effective social media plans in place, but, Lloyd says, lateral thinking can help change mindsets within leadership toward digital communications. ASDA, for example, is a business that found social media’s influence seeping throughout its communications to become fully integrated into its consumer relations. Maersk, too, introduced its now-popular Twitter feed @MaerskLine to the board with only 117 followers. The organisation now puts social and digital at the heart of its stakeholder relations.

Importantly, however, digital is not always the answer, says Lloyd. “It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a marketing campaign, you don’t have to have a Facebook page for it,” he says. Communicators should evaluate the relevance of a digital or social solution to achieving desired objectives.