While many companies have learned social media isn’t just a fad, a whole slew of others are still working on understanding the importance of connecting with their communities online. The need to establish and build a social brand online is critical, but the biggest mistake you can make in building a social media presence is diving in with no strategy to support your actions.
All successful communications, marketing and sales plans have significant strategy and planning behind them. Your social media presence needs to, as well.
When I was still in school and needing to satisfy my curiosity about social media outside the classroom, I realized many social media books started sounding the same. The basic how-to’s of each platform and generic examples of the same big brands that you always read about made me close several books after a couple chapters. When I started reading Christopher Barger’s The Social Media Strategist, my initial reaction was, “Finally! A book I can learn something new from!”
If you’re charged with spearheading social media for your company and not sure where to start, or need foolproof persuasion for your boss or CEO, you aren’t alone. Creating a social media presence from scratch or cleaning up a company’s social media presence isn’t easy or quick, but The Social Media Strategist: Build a Successful Program From the Inside Out by Christopher Barger will get you well on your way. The Social Media Strategist outlines seven key elements needed to launch and grow a social media presence.
- Executive champion – Get one of your organization’s power players on your side. You need someone important in your corner to support your vision, arm you with the necessary tools and ensure all departments either stay on your team or out of your way.
- Organized ownership – Bring all departments together, including HR, sales, finance and legal, to collaborate and support one vision. Determine exactly who is in charge of managing social media efforts. Fighting over who “owns” the presence will pull you in all directions, except the one toward success.
- Social media evangelist – S/he is not the “rock star” of your company, or the youngest employee that knows how social media platforms function. The evangelist brings business acumen to the table to ensure the overall business goals of the organization are integrated into your social media activity.
- Metrics to track success – Strategic social media is not about how many followers you have, how many “likes” you garner and definitely not about your Klout score. Flesh out tangible, measurable goals that support business objectives. Establish a schedule for measuring the success of the goals over time so you can determine where to build and where to re-evaluate.
- Partnering with legal – You may not want to include legal because it seems like they add an extra step for approval, but you absolutely want them in your corner. If a social media mishap gets you in a bind, having the legal team in the loop makes it a whole lot easier to get you out. They’ll also help you create your social media policy, understand regulations and also serve as a few more people on your social media support team.
- Social media policy – Help both your community and employees understand best practices and guidelines for using social media.
- Employee education – Not everyone knows how to engage in social media or how to effectively utilize it to support the organizatoin. Employee education is about training employees how to function within the social media policy you developed, teaching them best practices and turning them into great ambassadors for your organization’s brand.
Sound a little bit different than other social media books you’ve read? We enjoyed it so much that we got a second copy to give away to our readers! Leave a comment below between now and noon on Wednesday, July 18 telling us how this book can help you on your path to social media success. We’ll randomly select a winner next Wednesday afternoon.