Social Media Strategy

Your social media strategy encompasses a lot more than just setting up a Facebook Page, Instagram account, or Twitter profile. Often what is not taken into consideration is all the other systems or processes (for a lack of a better word) that need to be in place in order to be successful on these platforms.

Legal:

  • Have you read up on the latest Terms and Conditions these platforms have in place? (all of them have an amazing legal framework in place you should read through and familiarise yourself with)
  • Do you know what you are and aren’t allowed to do on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook? (for instance, running competitions on Facebook by asking people to like or share a post.)
  • Have you got rules of engagement in place to make sure that when you want to remove comments from your wall or profile that you deem inappropriate, you can do so? Be honest with people upfront as to what they can and can’t do on your profile so that when you remove a comment, they are not taken by surprise.
  • Have you got a social media policy in place for your employees and how have you communicated this to them. People do not always realise that when they state in their profile that they work for a certain brand or company, that all their comments will indirectly be linked back to their employer)
  • Not sure whether this falls under legal, but make sure to change your passwords on a regular basis and make them as random as possible. Best would be to change them every month, just to make sure nobody accesses the profiles that shouldn’t have access to them.
  • When employees within your social media team leave, remove them from all profiles and accounts immediately and change your passwords. Especially employees that leave on a bad note!

Financial:

  • Once you have set up a Facebook Page (just as an example), people are not just going to search for it and find it. You need to have the appropriate budgets in place to advertise on Facebook to make people aware that you are there and that they can engage with you on your page.
  • Adding social media sharing buttons to your website and including links to your own social media channels will cost money. Whether this is done internally or by an agency, there is a cost involved.
  • Have you got budget set aside to refresh the creative on your pages and profiles on a regular basis? You should be refreshing creative on a regular basis to stay up to date and showcase to people you are active on these platforms.
  • You should be investing in an ORM tool in order to measure your engagement and pick up comments that are made outside your own channels that need to be addressed. This means the cost of the software, as well as the cost to do the reporting and analysis on a monthly basis.

Business Processes:

  • When clients complain on any of your channels, are you able to go into your CRM to see who the client is and contact them directly. Trust me, as a client complaining, the last thing you want is for the company to come back to you and say ” please send us your contact details in order for us to phone you”. I am your client! You should have this information on your system already!
  • Have you got the ability to add clients’ social media contact details to your CRM, hereby turing it into a truly social CRM? That way it will be easier to find them on the system the next time they complain.
  • If a negative story is escalating, are the right people available to assist in drafting a statement and providing the right information? Even if this is on a Sunday morning or Saturday evening. Some things cannot wait for people to get back to the office on a Monday. Often you need the buy in from execs and management in order to get this right, not the marketing department, as they cannot answer all questions.
  • Keyman dependencies are a real threat on social media. What is the back up plan when all your social media managers are ill, or on leave. Are there enough people that can take over? And what if they leave?
  • Is social media incorporates into your crisis management protocol? Say the building catches on fire, is there a place where the social media team can go and monitor comments and provide updates to the public? Have they got a dedicated space?
  • Is your PR team or agency aligned with your social media team? These two need to talk on a regular basis, as comments on social media might escalate into a story that the PR agency needs to get involved in, and vice versa. The PR team should make the social media team / person aware of potential issues that may arise on social media.

Ghosts of the past:

  • When deciding to go on social media, issues that may have arisen a while back, may come up again. Although you dealt with them in the past via the appropriate channels, these always have a way of coming up again.
  • Make sure you have statements in place for when these ghosts reappear, and where not, the right people are contacted for advice and guidance.

Time (and time is money):

  • Putting a social media content plan in place takes time. Not just the drafting thereof, but also the searching for information, locating relevant images to go with your posts, etc. Just putting a social media content plan in place can take up a lot of time, and this is often underestimated. (You try and find something relevant to stay about your brand, 3 times a day, 7 days a week).
  • Comments and engagement don’t happen just during working hours. As a matter of fact, depending on your brand of course, they are often posted before and after hours, as well as in the weekends. The social media team needs to be able to respond to these comments regardless of the time or day they are posted on (within reason though.)
  • Different social media channels require content and engagement that is appropriate for that channel. Saving time by reporting content from Twitter onto Facebook or Instagram is just not acceptable. These are different channels with different purposes, and the content should be amended based on their purpose.

Integration:

  • Your social media person/team/department needs to be in the loop on everything that happens within the organisation. Social media should not be an afterthought, it should be incorporated into everything you do. Because whether you like it or not, eventually it will appear on social media, and when that happens, you rather have a team that is in the know of the story, rather than having to find out about it later.
  • Integration with the PR team is key (as mentioned above). Both will come across the same stories, issues and success stories, and need to be on the same page. However, this does not mean the PR department can necessarily do social media for you as well. It takes a special, passionate person to dedicate all their hours to engaging with your stakeholders.
  • The marketing team for ATL needs to involve the social media team in all the advertising they do. Wherever relevant (note relevant!!) and appropriate, add the right hashtags, profile information and links to all your ATL advertising. This is a great way to show people that you are on these channels and they can engage with you. As well as for people to find more relevant information about the topic on the billboard or print ad. No need to write certain things full out though, people know the internally recognised icons for social media. (just make sure you have checked their CI and you are using the right icons.)

Guidelines:

  • Guidelines need to be in place to determine what you will and won’t respond to, and how you will respond. For instance, somebody telling you they have visited your brand (via Foursquare or Facebook Places), does not always require a “thank you for visiting our store”
  • Guidelines need to be in place to determine which conversations happen online and which happen offline. Wherever you have the client details, I’d always recommend taking the conversation offline as soon as possible. The last thing you want is a “he said she said” conversation online for the entire world to see.
  • You further need guidelines about appropriate language (personally I dislike slang being used by brands on social media), way of speaking that is in line with your brand, but amended to the social media channel, etc.

These are just some of my top level thoughts. I’ll go into more detail on each one of them later this month.

If you need more information though, you can always email me!

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