There’s no doubt that social media is on the minds of many. Just today this article titled “over half of all companies are still unsure about social media” got my attention! But just how crucial is it to be taking part in social media efforts, and most important, how important is it for your business to jump on the bandwagon? Indeed it’s not an easy question to answer, however, there’s no questioning that social media is indeed a new media strategy that every company needs to at least consider adopting and using as yet another tool in their toolbox. What does seem to be clear to me, based on numerous discussions with friends, colleagues, and industry professionals is that there’s loads of confusion out there and perhaps most noteworthy, most companies simply are unsure how to proceed and how much time and effort should be put into the social push.
I think every company has to at least consider how or if social media will in some way be useful and practical to help with branding, marketing, communications, technical support, consumer/customer outreach, education, and for employee satisfaction as well. Ask anyone from a company that is considering making a move into the social arena and they will likely mention that they are not sure how to proceed, are concerned about the time and effort required, worry about employees getting sucked in and side tracked, and fear that endless hours in productivity will be lost… indeed all are valid concerns.
So where to start?
I’d have to say that any company needs to consider what kind of social media strategy they are going to adopt. At a minimum, consider securing names and locking down their presence on all the major resources that are available: Twitter, facebook, linkedIn, flickr, and YouTube to start. Look around your company and locate a a champion(s) to take up the effort, make sure this is a person that is not only interested but also passionate about social media. Before you jump in, conduct some meetings and surveys with employees, department heads, and your marketing team to come up with a realistic template for action and a social media strategy. Determine who will be responsible, what they can and can’t do online, what level of effort will be undertaken, and what each person will be responsible for and how much time should they put forward in their efforts. Document everything (I know, this is tough)
Most important, involve as many of your people as possible, make it fun, be professional, and take it seriously. Encourage those interested to participate in periodic social media webinars in order to learn valuable tips and tricks, consider hosting in-house social media lessons and how-to meetings, and stick with it! Once you’ve begun, investigate what options are available to you to attempt to document and justify your use of social media services. IT will be tricky but you should also attempt to come up with some clever strategies that try to validate your usage and determine some form of ROI – this is the tricky part!
- Be consistent in your naming
- Involve employees that are interested
- Draw on people’s skills and interests
- Share and boast about your customers
- Integrate your social media with each other
- adopt tools to save time
- think mobile!