Many organizations spend a lot of time and energy trying to sort through the social media chaos to find a right way to engage with the social customer.
They invest in high-end websites, blogging software, facebook apps and a myriad of social buttons and widgets, all in an attempt at social branding.
As a business they should be asking if simply focusing on social branding is the right way or should they have focused more on being a truly social business?
Social branding is one way a business can use social technologies to market to a social customer base.
Facebook friends, page fans and Twitter followers are all essential in this kind of marketing.
However what many companies fail to understand is that while they are constantly trying to humanize their products and brands, they are forgetting to humanize their business first. They are ignoring the need to create a social business.
As a modern, technology savvy business, you cannot simply focus on social branding or you will get lost in the social media chaos. You must create a social business to connect with that social customer.
A truly social business is a business that has completely integrated social media into every job and every department.But, this isn’t a simple task to complete. You can’t just tell every employee to begin posting on Facebook and Tweeting on a regular basis. You have to actually have a plan in place.
A social marketing plan that has communication at its core. That outlines how communication will be organized and the technology that will support it. A plan that begins with recruitment and training of the right people and personality types.
All the technology in the world won’t help if you don’t have people that can communicate effectively and work together in a way that shows your business in the best light.
Those staff must be able to talk to each other internally, be able to share information and be trained and encouraged to work closely together to create a single solid social business.
Training, as always, should start at the top and be encouraged to trickle down through leadership by example. Actions speak louder than words.
Staff then need to be directed toward the same social marketing goals, while working independently of one another.
Public Relations …. a social media essential
Although your entire staff should represent your business, you need to recruit or designate one person to control the big picture and manage how your reputation should be perceived.
This person needs to be able to communicate effectively with all other staff, in order to highlight and share those reputation goals.
They also need to ensure that all social media output that is linked to the business is, as far as is reasonably possible, focused on creating a positive view of the business and not an unwanted reputation.
They should never imply that your staff can’t have fun or a social media life outside of work; it just means that those posts or comments relating to that external life shouldn’t be linked back to the business.
And once you have the right people in place, communicating and organizing the technology to facilitate it all is just as important.
As a social media minded business you need to think long term.Before you invest in any technology you must know what you need, how to achieve your goals and what may be required in the future.
Consider where you are today and where you want to be in the coming years. You don’t want to spend money today that will only be wasted a year from now if you need to replace technology because it was unable to grow with your business.
Defining a technology to follow is an important building block in the foundation of your social media business.
The right technology should ensure that every social media post or press release can be consistent with your vision and deliver the results you want.
The business as a whole will then be consistent in its social media presentations and product information will be presented in the same unique & interesting way time and time again.
- If a new employee is assigned to create departmental updates for your business blog or social media outlet, there should be a training procedure in place
- Training should dictate the way the company wants social media handled and how information is to be formatted
- It should layout clearly both the style and format for posts, (informal, formal, casual, always including logos, legal notices, etc) and even minimum word counts if possible
- It should emphasise that only images, graphs and graphics cleared for use by the business are to be used. These can include cat pics, infographics and cartoons that the business is happy to use
- It should make sure the content creator knows and understands the policies of your chosen social media network (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- If your business wishes to avoid posting negative comments about competing services or products then this should be made clear to anyone and everyone that represents it
- And training should clearly state, that all posts need to be cleared by the staff member responsible for Public Relations
- Finally & Importantly; all new representative content creators should be made aware that they must reply to comments promptly and courteously
In other words, you need to have social media policies in place to prevent lowering standards and avoid dropping into the social media chaos.
Again communication and organization are the only way you can successfully turn your business into a true social media business.
The way to social media greatness is control that helps steer your business through the social media chaos.