Social media is an integral part of an overall communications strategy (link to post re: social media posting frequency). In our State of Social Media Benchmark Survey (link to summary post), nearly 90 percent of respondents report having a social media strategy in place. One-fifth of our respondents stated their biggest social media challenge is investing time and manpower in a social strategy.
This response isn’t surprising. With so many social media platforms springing up overnight, it can be overwhelming to make sure you put your best foot forward online. Social media can be a tool for engagement or a corporate blunder waiting to happen. At WCM, we recommend making time to develop a strategy and assign social tasks.
Dedicated Social Media Manager.
While it might be tempting to pass social media accounts on to junior staffers or even interns just because a younger employee is “good at Facebook,” you are also assigning one of the most public-facing communication tools to someone with the least amount of experience to represent your brand. Pick someone who understands your organization’s nuances and goals to be your brand’s digital persona. Your social media manager needs to be detail-oriented, organized, and tech-savvy. This person should be able to devote most, if not all, of their time to representing your brand online.
Representing a brand’s social persona is more than just tweeting out a link to your website. A lot of thought should go into what you will post, the timing of those posts, and which platforms you will use to reach specific audiences. While you’ll ideally have a dedicated social media manager, the tasks of defining and running a social media strategy is a team effort. One person should draft posts and push them live, but another person should proofread them for errors and make sure the voice is consistent across messages.
The biggest reasons why social media affects business are its immediacy, how it influences engagement and reach, and how it encourages transparency. For those reasons, it’s important to establish policies and guidelines that will help your social media manager represent your brand online. For example, if your customers regularly use your twitter account to ask questions about a specific product, determine a response-time policy so your social team knows to answer requests within a certain time frame. Establishing guidelines ahead of time can also prevent would-be social media disasters. If someone from your company accidentally tweets something offensive, do you delete the tweet, immediately apologize, or do both? Knowing upfront what your brand’s policies are will help your social media manager quickly address mistakes when they happen, and perhaps avoid them all together.
The process and policy that comprise a social media strategy are reason enough to designate a staffer to devote him or herself wholly to your brand’s social media presence. Your social media manager should be passionate about your brand’s message, understand its voice, and be likable. Designating one or two key people to your social media accounts will narrow your organization’s social focus and establish a level of familiarity so that your audience recognizes—and listens to—your brand’s online voice.