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Social Media Success is a Sum of Smaller Parts
By: Christine Geraci
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When all is said and done, a quality social media presence is about making friends.
You have to decide what kind of friends you want: Are you OK with accumulating shallow, superficial acquaintances, or do you want deep, meaningful relationships?
If you're cool with shallow and superficial, by all means: Run a lot of gimmicky contests to get likes and follows, respond sparingly to questions, and spend lots of time promoting the crap out of how awesome you think you are.
But if you're going for deep and meaningful (and I know I'm biased as an INFP, but hooray if you are), then you need to realize something very important: You can only grow such relationships in small groups of people. 
Well, blast. The whole point here is to GROW business, right? How can you grow if only same few people always like your status updates? Well, that's kind of a business-killer, isn't it?
Not so fast. 
You can still grow, but in smaller parts — parts that, when engaged effectively, gradually add up to a larger whole. 
This means breaking down the back-end methods by which you interact in the social space into more manageable bites for everyone involved. Personally, I think you'd have to be pretty darn small to successfully hand the social keys over to just ONE person. And even then, you should be budgeting for that one person to do NOTHING BUT social, not tacking social on to their already burgeoning list of responsibilities.
Whatever the structure you're working toward, it's about making sure the following essentials are met:
1) Your content is always fresh, consistent, and high-quality
2) ANY questions or comments are answered in a timely manner where appropriate
3) You are engaging others in conversation, where appropriate
Fulfilling these essentials will likely mean something different to every business, based on where they're at in the process of becoming a more social, as well as good old-fashioned budgetary constraints. Here are some structural examples of how it could conceivably get done, from my own observation:
1) One person dedicated to nothing but managing the business' social presence, from soup to nuts: Creates, curates, and shares content, answers questions, serves as the brand's online social voice.
2) A team of people, led by a strategist who oversees the business' social presence: Content creators and curators, editors, conversation moderators, people who answer customer inquiries. The strategist ensures a consistent voice, performs analysis, develops content ideas as well as contributes content, sets policies and guidelines, and implements an ongoing social media training program to contribute to staff development.
3) A company-wide initiative. One person oversees the social presence, but then collects content developed by other staff members in the business who simply integrate social into their thinking. For example: A salesperson snaps photos whenever she's out on the road meeting with clients, or a VP pens useful blog posts that outline how the business can help solve common problems its customers have. Social thinking is fully integrated into what everyone does, breaking down silos and making people feel like they all have a part in the business' success.
Whether it's one person or a team of people (ideally, the whole company is taking part in some way), ensuring someone is always there — to create, to monitor, to engage — will help you build deeper, more meaningful relationships with more small groups of people that, when put together, add up to a high-quality whole. 

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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