Social Media Because You Can’t Help It?
Social media has been the word of the year that you just can’t get away from. Seemingly as simple as setting up a page, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon because it’s free and everyone, including our mothers, is doing it. In our personal lives, social media has allowed us to “connect” with those who we haven’t talked to in 10 years. In the same vein, businesses can capitalize on the same lost interaction with their customers. But beware, in business, social media requires much more attention than the casual messages that are scrawled to friends and family in seconds.
Social media for businesses is not just a matter of setting up a Facebook account. Prior to implementation, it is crucial that your company establishes a clear strategy that details timing, tone, frequency, roles, how to handle adversity and, just in case, an exit plan. Without these details ironed out beforehand, the messaging can become sporadic, disjointed and in the end, detrimental to your brand identity.
The time it takes to gather content, make regular updates, and respond intelligently is often underestimated and can be too much for one person to handle, especially when they also have a full plate of work outside of their social media duties. Due to the lack of importance that is placed on social media efforts, all too often the work of posting and updating is unfortunately left to an intern. They’re young and on Facebook, they know social media better than I do…right?? Wrong! Do you really want that intern with absolutely ZERO marketing experience being the prominent voice of your business? Do you really feel that that junior member of your staff is prepared to handle the transparency that social media brings? A company must be prepared with the expert resources or budget to successfully maintain a social media strategy.
Entering the social media realm should not be taken lightly, nor is it for everyone. Because it is the most direct form of communication with your audience, just remember, if you choose to delve into social media start with a plan, implement it with a trusted professional and stick to it.