Mining companies and operations are faced with challenging business environments in all locations. Not only does commodity pricing cause demand for lower-cost production, but public support and uncertainly at any stage of a mine cycle can cause turmoil to an operation. There are many examples of mining operations stopped, stalled or even forced to shut down due to public outcries or a weakened trust from stakeholders.
Due to these external factors, public and external communications are as important to the sustainability of a mine as the technical operations are. The structures and policies of these communications, however, vary between organizations. The most effective communications from a mine are formed as long-term, strategic content rather than short-term, tactical functions. And with the ever-changing formats in communications tools, proactive communications to the public or a stakeholder audience means content must be shared on many different platforms, including websites and social media.
And here is where the question is typically poised to be answered, that is the big questions everyone wants to know: "What is the ROI of social media content for my mining company?"
There are two answers to this one question.
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First Answer: It Depends. Real ROI is measured differently because most companies and organizations have different goals and strategies to reach those goals. We know mining is a different beast of an industry altogether. Its marketing and outreach is not B2B. Its a bit closer to B2C but still not in the tradition sense. What Clear Creek Digital likes to label mining communications and marketing is O2C, or "Operations To Communities."
Its really a brand reputation, transparency and trust building mechanism. more than anything. If those three KPI's are succinct, then value is added to the organization due to mitigated external public risk.
Value and ROI can also be added by utilizing social media for what it truly is meant for; being social and opening a dialogue. We saw something very noteworthy from Goldcorp on Twitter this week during the Disrupt Mining event. In the middle of the event, a few anti-mining activist organizations and people seemed to be "trolling" the Twitter feed using the hashtag #disruptmining. It was interesting to watch while I even got caught up in a bit of a dialogue with one person.
Then, to my surprise, Goldcorp responded with this tweet (which has been removed, unfortunately):
I applaud this type of opportunity to publicly reach out and great opportunities for engagement using the very tools where dialogue is created. I do hope that both parties follow through with the conversation. Real value was gained through social media by providing an openness to more transparency and trust. Think about it, even the Sea World and Humane Society of the U.S. partnership had to start somewhere. They were sworn enemies not long ago!