Social media has been around now for a good few years now and I am astounded by the amount of large companies that are still dragging their heels, hoping that this “passing fad” will disappear into the ether. Truth is folks, social media is here to stay, so get on the train before it leaves the station!
There are still many out there that still do not know what they should be doing with social media. The industry is mature enough and there are people out there that can help you, so I think it is high time to formulate a plan and execute it. Many companies have not done anything purely through fear.
Here are eight things you should do be doing (or not doing) in 2013
1. Don’t hand over the reins to an agency who will give the responsibility of managing your community to a person who qualifies because they “enjoy social networking”
With any strategic project within an organisation, responsibility is given to the person who you can least do without in your company. Managing social interaction with your community is an important task and should be managed by a highly competent person. A good example is @ScottMonty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company. Take the time to find and nurture the person within your organisation. If you cannot identify someone, hire a competent resource.
2. If you are still blocking your employees from social networks at your company, now is the time to provide them with access and start trusting them
Here is an excerpt from Deloitte Australia’s website on its vision and culture: “Deloitte’s culture is based on empower and trust; recruit and retain the best”. Besides trusting your employees, develop a social media policy, ensure your employees understand it and then trust your employees to abide by the rules you have stipulated.
3. Do not follow some social media template that was introduced by someone who can barely spell “social media”. Start learning more about this channel and do some exciting things
There are many self-proclaimed social media gurus and specialists out there that have created social media templates that organisations may use. I would have a very good look at what the particular “social media expert” is doing to promote themselves first. “Never trust a skinny chef” is the statement on the SA-based Heavy Chef website.
4. Social media is “Marketing”, so you figure who should own it
Need I say more? Social media is a marketing function and should be owned, managed and driven by the marketing department. Bear in mind that this does not imply exclusive management and control. If you are planning on becoming a social business, you should have representation and participation from all business areas within your organisation.
5. Yes, there are a number of legal things to think about, but they can all be put in place. Your legal department is there. Use them
I will not delve too deep into this particular subject because I am not suitably qualified to do so. When developing your social media policy, take cognisance of all the legal aspects and seek input from your legal team.
6. The first excuse I always hear from anyone who has not embraced social media properly is “I do not have time”. My advice is to find the time to recruit a few resources to own and manage this strategic initiative
When I hear people say this, my blood starts to curdle! This is the typical excuse you will hear from someone who does not firmly understand the social media value proposition. The only advice I can render here is to get educated. Social media is — in its most simplistic form — a set of communication tools which enable many-to-many interaction between your employees and your external stakeholders. Learn to use the tool effectively and you will see the results!
7. Do yourself a HUGE favour and stop asking about “Return on Investment”. This is the best way to stall and hide behind spreadsheets
Every organisation has a switchboard with telephones on each employee’s desk and an email server with email addresses assigned to each employee. Show me the organisation that measures the “return on their telephone and email investment”. Social media is another communication channel enabling your employees to connect and interact in order to generate and nurture relationships. I rest my case.
8. If you do not know where to begin, you can be assured that there are competent people out there that can help you. If you do not know where to start, contact me and I will make some recommendations
One of the most powerful forms of marketing is “word of mouth”. The propensity for someone to buy a particular product or service is way higher if it was recommended by a known “trusted adviser”. If you are not sure who to turn to for social media help, ask for recommendations. When I was tasked to have an iPhone and iPad app developed, I asked Apple for three recommendations and chose one of them. Our apps work like a treat!
You can be rest assured that there are many companies out there that are using social media very effectively and achieving amazing results. There also happen to be a whole bunch of companies that are moving in the opposite direction because they have chosen not to do anything. Which of these are you going to be?