These times really suck.
You didn't sign up for meeting after meeting about "cutting once and cutting deep," "non-essential staff" and "bottom line." You get it. When you walk around the company, you see the look in their eyes or how quickly they try to look busy. People are scared and it is your job to decide what members of your team you must do without. Your company's survival depends upon it. Hell, your survival depends upon doing it right.
There are those who will tell you to just look to the bottom line and just eliminate anyone who does not produce in revenue what they are compensated. That would include most people in social media if you look at it simplistically enough.
I'm writing you to tell you that such moves would be painfully short-sighted. They would put your company terribly out of position for the recovery, which will not come soon, but will come inevitably. When that recovery does come, will you be in a better position than your competitor? Will you be in a better position than a new competitive thrust from a start up created by some bright laid off employees?
This is the time to think about the most efficient way to be closest to you customers, to what's left of your company ecosystem. You need to be among the first to detect the nuances of your market and adjust. You need to think about the most efficient way to keep in the conversation. You need to be closest to the young and bright people you will want to hire when the time to build again comes back.
That will not be advertising or brand building. That will not be PR or events. It will be in social media. Social media people cost little budget except their employment packages. They are on the front line where change is going to be first detected. They don't place ads in media where most people who hear or see the message don't matter. They just follow conversations that can make a difference to you.
The same goes for internally in large organizations. You need to be in touch with the team you keep. You need to let those who survive the cuts know how important they are. You need to be able to share information fast an accurately. A monthly newsletter just isn't going to do the job the way a behind-the-firewall community will do it.
Now is the most vital time there ever has been for online collaboration, and the tools of social media are the best there are for doing that. They are two way, not one way. They eliminate travel costs in many cases. They are real time, and oh yes, they are inexpensive.
I could go on and on. Social media is sort of a pet topic of mine. But I know you are pretty busy these days. And you don't need anyone preaching to you. I just wanted to get this word in to the conversation. While a lot of people are telling you how bad today is, you need to execute strategies that make tomorrow more efficient than yesterday.
Hope you pull through this mess and have some fun with you loved ones on the holidays,