Staples Inc.’s Social Media Project Management

Introduction

In the modern world, social media has increasingly manifested its benefits in various aspects of the economy. Therefore, the integration of social media in the business setting to fulfill customer needs, enhance marketing, and improve the sales of its products and services is essential (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010). In this regard, Staples Inc., a supply chain company with over 2000 outlets in various countries has faced challenges in its sales necessitating the closure of 225 stores to maintain its sustainability. For this reason, this charter would provide a plan for the execution of social media initiatives that would promote the profitability of Staples Inc.

Project Description

Project Purpose

The social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have portrayed significant advantages in the corporate world concerning the creation of excellent customer relations, enhancing product promotion, and facilitating profitability. Thus, Staples Inc. should consider the adoption of online-oriented sales and marketing strategies that would elevate the organization’s profitability amid the difficulties the company has been experiencing. Staples Inc. should establish an official social media approach that would facilitate its leveraging efforts directed towards seizing the opportunities available online.

Investing in social media platforms would bear various benefits to Staples Inc. on the aspects of marketing, sales, and customer relations. Bolstering the marketing feature through social media initiatives would result in the creation of a desirable social image further enhances its competitiveness.

On the sales dimension, social media initiatives have the potential of increasing the organization’s revenues. Furthermore, more customers would be acquired through the project since the online platforms have greater coverage (Laroche et al. 2012). Moreover, Staple Inc. would gain more customer insights from venturing into the online strategy, as a customer would provide reviews regarding the supply of their office equipment. Implementing the project would foster customer satisfaction resulting in their retention. The strategy would also enhance the reduction of service costs.

Background

Consumers have rapidly integrated social media platforms into their life whereas corporates have lagged. In this light, Staples Inc. should follow the trend that customers, partners, and prospects have adopted in a bid to enhance its competitiveness. Since individuals have communities and groups by their interest, Staple Inc. could take advantage of groups that need their products. Customers’ interaction on social media could help to determine how the organization leverages its growth by having an online presence. Additionally, the initiative would attain the customers’ perception regarding the brand, and thus strategize on how they respond to the insights (Culnan, McHugh, & Zubillaga 2010).

Scope

The scope of the project would include several operational dimensions that would foster the growth of the company. The project seeks the establishment of the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. The initiative would also encompass the creation of a process of maintaining updates on social media. The development of a standard use policy that guides the conduct of Staple Inc.’s employees on social media to enhance customer relations. Further integration of all the social sites would be adopted to ensure leveraging of the content.

The execution of a strategy that bolsters the acquisition of followers and fans would also demarcate the projects’ scope. Additionally, the project seeks the implementation of a manageable and scalable plan that is centered on the realization of specific targets that are in line with the purpose of this project.

It is vital to note that the execution of the project would embark on three phases. The first phase would concentrate on one-sided engagements that would develop the fan and follower base. The second phase would embark on heightened engagement and diversification of social media existence. Finally, the third phase would focus on multi-dimensional interactions and the integration of customer relations management.

Deliverables

The deliverable for each social network is specified in this document, and thus it depicts the essence of Staples Inc. in online sales, marketing, and customer relationship management. The project would seek to maintain regular and consistent updates on Twitter and Facebook accounts. The process would involve status updates, respond to clients, uploading photos, and initiating discussions. Response to inquiries would be prompt and offline arrangements could be adopted (Xiang & Gretzel 2010).

Tweets concerning news about Staples Inc. via Twitter would be done to ensure that customers are up to date with the company’s developments. Additionally, retweets on relevant office supply issues and information from the YouTube and Twitter platforms would be considered.

The initiative would focus on consistent contributions and conversations on LinkedIn to widen the company’s network based on the scope of its operations. Besides, the company would use its YouTube channel to post videos regarding company news, product announcements, and informational and entertainment. Furthermore, the company would publish its monthly reports regarding their metrics to specific goals (Mangold & Faulds 2009).

Timeframe

The execution of the social media project is expected to commence on November 15, 2015. The strategy of the initiative would take an on-going approach that involves quarterly evaluation concerning the intended goals.

Milestones

The table below indicates the targeted milestones that would validate the significance of the project to Staples Inc.

Executive Milestone Projected Completion Timeframe
Improve the sales revenues by $350,000 6-12 months
Grow the social media fan base/ followers by 1 million on each platform 3-6 months

Table 1: Project Milestones.

Resources and Responsibilities

The human resource aspect would constitute a significant part of the resource factor with each of the players required to play specific roles and responsibilities. In this light, the resources would include the project manager, project sponsor, IT support, a customer service representative, a market representative, a sales representative, and the staff responsible for maintaining the social media sites.

Overseeing the overall activity of the project will be assumed to the project manager concerning the allocated resources for each social media platform. The project manager would also facilitate the collection and compilation of metric reports. The project sponsor would concentrate on the approval and representation of executives. The IT personnel would promote the development of social media accounts for the company. Besides, IT personnel would enhance the monitoring aspects of the project cycle.

The customer service representative would embark on the establishment of goals and processes that would guide the interaction with customers over the social media platforms. The marketing representative would facilitate the development of marketing objectives, cross-platform promotion, and gather consumer insights (Laroche et al. 2012). The social media staff would enhance the publishing of content on the various platforms and participate in discussions. The staff would also initiate product promotion strategies along with cross-media marketing advancements.

Key Success Factors

The prosperity of the project is tied to several crucial factors that bolster the purpose of the planned endeavor. One key success factor is the presence of a highly committed team that would create synergy throughout the project. Additionally, the resources allocated for the project are sufficient for successful implementation given the time allowance for the project.

The audience participation is another success factor since it assists in gauging their perspective regarding the brand image. The measurement of the success would be evaluated by customers’ growth, interaction levels, the relevance of discussions, and beneficial use of monitoring tools. Besides, compliance with the standard policy provisions resulting in the attainment of set objectives would constitute the evaluation criteria (Staples 2015)

Identification of risks

The project execution would consider potential risks that could hinder the success of the project. In this regard, the risk category, its probability, the actual risk, and its mitigation strategy would require attention and is illustrated in the table below

Category Probability Risk Alleviation Strategy
Privacy High Inappropriate exchange of contacts at the personal and business level Establishment of various accounts for business purposes
Security High The download of viruses or malware from social media sites Employment of policies that guide the staff regarding the download of files by the staff.
Employee time wastage Medium Diverging time spent on social media from the business to personal interests Maintaining timesheets that document activities carried out by the employees on social media
Inappropriate Content High Employees might unintentionally post updates inappropriate for the business practices Careful selection of social media staff and training on social media etiquette

Table 2: Risk Identification.

Stakeholders

The success of the project would not be achieved unless each of the participants is actively engaged in their roles. The table below indicated the stakeholders and their roles regarding Staples Inc.’s social media initiative.

Name of Stakeholder Role Responsibilities
Mark Tigers Project Manager Definition and evaluation of the project plan. Facilitating communication with stakeholders and preparation of metrics reports
William Andrews Chief Sponsor Project approval, resource negotiation, and reports review
Jack Brown IT Manager Mobilization of resources and provision of IT-based support Communicating the marketing plan and monitoring social media activity
Vincent Albert Marketing Manager Communicating the marketing plan and monitoring social media activity
Raymond Smith Sales Manager Enhancing sales tactics and promotions through customer engagement
Anna Sophia Social Media Representative Social media posts, comments, and responses to customer inquiries

Table 3: Project image.

Communication plan

The project’s communication aspect would be executed with the participation of the project manager, the chief sponsor, and the stakeholders. The project manager is expected to conduct weekly e-mail updates that communicate the progress of the project. The chief sponsor would conduct quarterly meetings that would monitor resource use and challenges faced in the project. The stakeholders would be engaged in monthly meetings to discuss the progress and adjust the strategy where necessary.

Reference List

Culnan, M, McHugh, P & Zubillaga, J 2010, ‘How large US companies can use Twitter and other social media to gain business value’, MIS Quarterly Executive, vol. 9, no.4, pp. 243-259.

Kaplan, A & Haenlein, M 2010, ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media’, Business Horizons, vol.53, no.1, pp. 59-68.

Laroche, M, Habibi, M, Richard, M & Sankaranarayanan, R 2012, ‘The effects of social media based brand communities on brand community markers, value creation practices, brand trust, and brand loyalty’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol.28, no.5, pp. 1755-1767.

Mangold, G & Faulds, D 2009, ‘Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion Mix’, Business Horizons, vol. 52, no.4, pp. 357-365.

Staples: Home 2015. Web.

Xiang, Z & Gretzel, U 2010, ‘Role of social media in online travel information search’, Tourism Management, vol. 31, no.2, pp. 179-188.