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Mining Through the Social Sphere

Written on Oct 22 2012

Benefits of Being Social 

There is a great deal of value to be gained by mining companies participating in social media. The concept of “social media” might seem irrelevant and unnecessary for mining companies and related business, but online networking tools are quickly becoming essential for both the work and personal lives of people across all industries. Employees can benefit from reading thoughts posted by their leaders on how the company is progressing, work teams can collaborate about project updates, and shareholders can stay informed about current events from company posts.

Brand Management 

Just as with any industry, brand and reputation management play a key role in sustaining and improving the business. Social media allows any company to have the same online exposure to the community as any other organization. Therefore, companies have a choice to build their reputations by engaging with their audience, or allow their reputations to be formed by the voices and opinions of others if they neglect to engage. Mining companies should be aware that their employees, stakeholders and customers now have the ability to share their thoughts and perceptions of the organisation with the entire world, whether positive or negative. However, companies are also provided with the ability to immediately and widely support or defend these statements to the same audience.

 Generating Value

Participating in the social sphere can generate many forms of value for large corporations. This value can come from consistent communication with stakeholders and other individuals with a vested interest in how and what the company is doing. It can also give senior executives a platform to communicate their thoughts directly to their employees, stakeholders, and the general public. Companies can network, advertise, announce job openings and generate leads for work or partnerships.

Building Channels of Communication

The main benefit to mining industry individuals is enhancing their communication skills both internally and externally while working in remote areas around the world. As the number of people using mobile networks and “smart phone” technology increases, these tools allow everyone to stay connected and informed. The tools available through the various social channels can be used to collaborate and share information on company projects. Features on these sites can be applied to project teams, relationships with clients in the mining services area, or on geographically spread work groups. Other features such as status update messages, photo and video sharing, document sharing, etc. allow for convenient real time collaboration.This includes networking with other people in their industry on LinkedIn, collaborating and sharing knowledge on forums such as Facebook or LinkedIn group pages, getting reviews about new technologies on Twitter and YouTube, and accessing free information and discussions through blogs.

Staying Connected 

Clear and consistent communication to all company stakeholders can sometimes be a challenge but is a key factor in maintaining sound operations making the use of social media tools a smart solution. By taking the initiative to apply the use of these tools as a general practice of conducting business, mining industry companies can reduce barriers of isolation created from daily operations in remote areas across the world. As time advances, the application of social media as an acceptable form of collaboration will appeal greatly to younger generations growing up with these social tools and seeking employment in the resource field.

Case Study – NovaGold 

A great example of a corporation applying these tools to improve business functions is NovaGold Resources Inc. This company engages widely across social channels connecting with employees, stakeholders, and the public. Prior to announcing their quarterly earnings they let their investors know that they will be taking questions via Twitter, Facebook, and StockTwits as well as by phone. They also post YouTube videos of interviews with the company’s CEO, providing key takeaways from the Quarterly Reporting results and what investors can expect from the company between now and the end of the year.

Check out their webpage to view the activity on all their social plugins: http://www.novagold.com/

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