Presenting an organization in social media requires outgoing people, but first it requires a plan, like any other public relations or marketing initiative. Yet once you have your goals and strategies expressed, how do you staff to accomplish them? Amy-Mae Elliott on Mashable has talked with people who have done social media team building and provides helpful insights into a frontier challenge.
1.) Set clear goals. As we've already said, do serious planning first. Don't just slip into social media. Research your options. What types of social media seem best-suited to your needs? Once you're out there, you have to know what you're doing. Elliot notes you have to be able to measure the results you're getting. What do you want to measure? Engagement levels — buzz and sentiment — or increases in sales? You should be measuring both.
2.) Create a social media policy. Elliot recommends doing this first, but, actually, your social media plan should come first. These aren't just "p" words. Visioning comes before doing. "Every company with a presence in the social space should have a social media policy," she writes, "even if it’s just a few lines advising employees how you’d prefer they reference your brand online." True enough. But first be clear about what you're hoping to accomplish (your social media vision/goals). After observing the initial results, be prepared to adjust them (the important feedback function).
3.) Recruit internally or externally? Elliot has a great quote from Kristen Studard, social media coordinator at Threadless: "The people you want on your social media team are the same people you’d want talking about your brand at a party — naturally social people who love your brand. Find the social media-savvy people who already work for you and are passionate about your brand and you’re onto something.” Find people like this, and make them your social media pros. But don't just set them loose without training in your goals and objectives and your organization's values.
4.) Essential skills to look for. Beyond verve, they depend partly on the forms of social media you choose. Twitter, say, involves a more engaging sensibility, while blogging is heavier on editorial and writing skills. Multi-tasking skills are vital (true in in just about everything these days).
5.) Stay committed. You need to be thinking long-term, she concludes. True, but be prepared to make adjustments along the way. Social media planning isn't greatly different from other forms of communication planning, but it absolutely has to be done.
Elliott provides enabling insights from communicators with social media experience. A post definitely worth your attention.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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