For several weeks I’ve argued that social media is a critical tool for making organizations proactive. However, he haven’t talked about HOW to implement social media into your organization. Try to remember the following:
When a business uses social media the ultimate goal is to create a honest relationship with customers. Social media should:
1. State your company’s objective, purpose, mission.
2. Communicate your company’s corporate culture.
3. Maintain long term connections with clients and other businesses.
Here’s a video explaining it all, in ‘plain English’:
However, it’s not as easy as it looks and it isn’t something that happens over night or with a Twitter account.
Industry experts agree that a business trying to create a social media initiative should usually follow these three steps:
1. Seed Your Brand: Get your company active on the big social media sites (Facebook, Linkedin, etc.)
2. Create a Social Media Policy: Make sure everyone who does contribute to your company’s social media platforms do so within a set of guidelines in order to avoid future problems. Here’s a great example of one.
3. Perfect Your Blog: Make sure your blog is up to date and always fresh. Make sure it continually communicates your company’s image, thoughts, and culture.
Again, it’s looks pretty straight forward and ‘easy’. But try telling that to the many businesses that have chucked in the towel after their blog, Twitter, and Facebook page produced little in the way of tangible results. However, social media doesn’t guarantee sales, but rather it creates an effortless way to make long lasting bonds with your community and consumer base. It’s about building friendships–not sales plans.
How Can Social Media Fail? (…especially if it’s pretty user-friendly?)
The biggest challenge businesses face when it comes to social media initiatives is: “communicating corporate culture”. In other words, businesses have trouble being honest with their audience….It’s about being open with your customers and not being afraid to tell a joke, or make an observation. It’s about having an opinion and a style and resisting the temptation to be fake.
Real Life Fail: Pizza Hut posted a job looking for someone to Twitter for them. Clearly looking to ride a trend, not add to a discussion.
Company’s must also listen to their audience. Having a blog isn’t just about discussing your internal news, but it’s about responding to user questions, searches, and needs in order to increase customer-business interactions.
Real Life Fail: Mortin didn’t listen to mothers.
Listen, respond, and add your own style.
What Are the Lessons?
Leaders must remind themselves that social media ‘campaigns’ aren’t quick ways to reach out to a large, in-the-know, market. Social media is simply numerous platforms where people can interact easily so it’s crucial to treat it like a community–not a sounding board. It’s up to you to be honest and listen to people–just like in real life.
Also, keep on top of social media trends in order to know where everyone is meeting, talking, and shopping. You want to be part of the biggest discussion/forum possible.