Many of us face challenges integrating new ideas into our organizations and initiatives – we need to figure out how to convey the need, the benefits of doing it, and the risks of not doing it. When it comes to social, it can be a challenge because people often may not understand it OR they think they understand it but don’t fully grasp all the opportunities. So here are my 8 tips for making social media a part of what you do:
- Determine current barriers to entry & how to overcome them. Different industries and products face different challenges in social media. Some worry about the openness of the medium and negative chatter about their brand; others face issues with positive chatter when it involves making claims about a product that legally cannot be said. Ultimately, for your brand or campaign, you need review the current rules, regulations and policies that apply to you and figure out how to work within them.
- Confirm top-level buy-in & support for social media initiative. Social media should NEVER be “convinced” or conducted “under-the-radar”. All parties who have a vested interest in social media should be involved in the decision to enter into it – or not. This becomes especially important when something goes wrong – and I do mean, “when” because inevitably, even with the best planning, something will go wrong. Having buy-in will ensure that those difficult situations are managed appropriately by all involved.
- Define marketing goals & establish a vision for social media’s role. Part of getting buy-in from others requires the clear definition of goals for your social media. Ask the big question – what does success look like to you in six months? Sometimes you’ll get a good response; but when there isn’t a clear answer, that’s when the fun starts! It’s your role as the social media manager to help work through the lack of clear guidelines around what a client or organization wants to achieve and help them figure out what is possible and what to expect.
- Begin listening. Consider using the approach mentioned above and just start listening to what people are saying online. Understanding the conversations and where your campaign or brand stands within that conversation is critical to advancing your social media.
- Remember, it’s all about “Relationships 101”. Remember that it’s all about relationships. You wouldn’t go on a date and talk ONLY about yourself (ok, maybe some of you would but if you want to see that person again, you won’t). It’s the same in social media – you want that person to come back and engage with you again, and make that happen, you can’t yell at them, you need to ask them what they think, and you need to listen.
- Maximize the life of all assets. You should be using ALL the relevant assets you have available to you including content, talent, events, advocates, and stakeholders. Consider that content on the “cutting room floor” – behind the scenes content, outtakes or never-been-seen-before content – these are all currency online. As well, consider all the angles of your content and assets in order to extend the value of what you have invested. If you created a TV spot, adding it to YouTube and promoting across social media allows you to garner additional exposure of that content and message with little extra cost.
- Seek viral “snowballs”.Social media is about things “going viral” and while I don’t believe that there is a magic formula for making something go viral, there are streams of viral content online that can be valuable to append onto to get your own content more visibility. These are things such as hashtags, building campaigns into existing networks like MeetUps, and leveraging stakeholders and partners to take your message on, make it their own and promote it more broadly.
- Remember – online organic placements continue to deliver. While paid media is impactful and time sensitive, it comes and goes. Earned placements online continue to live on, get indexed by search engines, help build a brand’s digital footprint, and continue to drive down costs as they generate more and more exposure over time.