This post originally appeared on Dbusiness.com.
Lately, many of our early-stage social media discussions with companies have revolved around one particular topic: “We really want to create a program, but are unsure if we can sustain it. We’re already so busy, which makes it very, very hard to convince individuals inside the company to add something else to their plate. What are our options?”
This is a hard topic to tackle and a common problem for companies in both the B2C and B2B space. When getting involved with using social media for business, this space can look very attractive, but the barriers to entry can often be higher than expected. More importantly, there can often be push back from employees when they’re told, “You have to blog on a regular basis.” What good is all that intellectual capital and expertise if you can’t tap into it?
Having helped small to large brands navigate this very issue, we’ve learned a few strategies that might be helpful for anyone in a similar situation.
Be clear on expectations
If your brand’s social media program includes the use of multiple company voices, make sure deliverables are established early in the program. Let contributors know what is expected of them, such as the number of posts, frequency and content topics. Also, be willing to be flexible when it comes to deadlines, especially early on in the program. Having clarity regarding strategy and program growth can address a number of problems right away.
Don’t make involvement mandatory
Forcing social media involvement on employees is one quick way to reach program fatigue. While there may be some initial excitement, maintaining a social media presence can quickly become a chore if the wrong people are forced to create content. Instead, focus your initial efforts on employees, practice group leaders and executives who really want to be involved. These individuals should not only be excited about the possibility of talking directly with customers, but also welcome the idea of taking on a bit more work. Additionally, if you followed the first step, they’ll know what to expect when contributing.
If your program involves curating and editorializing content, developing post templates for various networks can save you a lot of time and effort. When assigning content to contributors, provide them with a template that contains suggestions on word count, titles, tags, formatting and links to supporting content. Until everyone understands the process, a little hand holding can’t hurt.
Appoint an internal content champion
This person is the fuel that keeps the social media engine running. He/she should possess great project management skills and the ability to coordinate the collection and distribution of information in a timely matter. It’s this person’s responsibility to ensure that contributing posts follow the right format, do not contain errors and are posted at the appropriate times. The internal champion does not need to be a social media know-it-all, but should know enough to help keep the program running smoothly.
What strategies have you implemented to help launch and maintain your social media program? If you’ve worked with multiple internal contributors, how have you managed the process effectively?