If you’re a new social media manager or have recently acquired social duties as part of your role, you know how big of a task it is. Unless you have a game plan, it’s very easy to become a Twitter monkey and blindly build your measurement on follower counts. As a veteran social media manager myself, I have so much wisdom to share. That’s a lie, I have only been in this position for three months, but what I do have is some observations and tips gleaned from experience that will hopefully propel us all forward into smarter social beings.
- Plan. It’s the single most important thing you can do. The nature of social media prohibits you from knowing what will be thrown your way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready for it. Before you launch social media platforms, make sure you have a website and preferably, one that is optimized for mobile; have a strategy that outlines your company’s goals in social media, such as lead generation, engagement, community-building, etc.; understand how you will measure and track those goals; and outline a crisis communications plan.
- Don’t become a Twitter Monkey. It’s very easy to do, at least it was for me! When I took over as social media manager, I was mesmerized by all the tweets coming in through our monitoring tool, the Cision Social Media Dashboard. Twitter never stops but that doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time. I keep my engagement console open all day to monitor, but I aim to break my time into sections, such as: general engagement/community-building (through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.), monitoring, continuing education and reading, and analyzing.
- Measure, Analyze, Adjust, Repeat. Measuring is great but unless you’re analyzing your measurements and determining how you can make updates to your strategy, you’re wasting time. Be sure you slate time to look at return and determine how you can amplify conversions and other areas of measurement. Our friend Carrie Morgan does a good job of breaking this process down into bite-sized chunks on Convince & Convert.
- Network Online and Off. By nature, I love talking to people and learning about them. In social media, I think it is evermore important. Treat your online relationships like you would offline ones and try to meet people in-person whenever you can.
- Collaborate: Social seems to touch every facet of the business: from sales to customer service, thought leadership and everywhere in-between. Be aware of this and have contacts in various departments to ensure you’re addressing compliments and complaints well, and to make sure you’re helping each department move forward with the social data at your fingertips.
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Data: If you’re monitoring for your company, you see everything that is said online about the brand. Because of that, it is easy to make assumptions like, “the majority of our social mentions are positive.” This may be true but unless you have data to power this statement, it is null and void. Make sure you’re utilizing all the data you have at your fingertips and share it whenever it will be helpful to someone else in the company.
- Develop or Overhaul the Company-Wide Social Policy: For most companies, a social policy was created 3+ years ago. However, make sure that you revisit it to make sure it accurately portrays your current social stance. When social first bubbled over, many companies were afraid of giving employees the keys to the social kingdom. Most companies have a social media manager but in addition to that, they should utilize their employees’ social capital, as they can be a brand’s biggest advocate. Amber Naslund has spoken on this topic and says it well: If you don’t trust your employees on social media, you have a hiring problem, not a social media problem.
- Keep Pace: It will be to your benefit and your company’s if you are invested in continuing education and the future of social media. Scout out new sites, read up on new theories and move your brand forward.
What advice would you give to those working with social media?