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What Are The Steps Companies Need to Take To Get Involved With Social Media?

social media steps

I’m lagging.  Lagging in putting up blog posts. It has been a crazy few weeks and I am headed to SXSW tomorrow, which proud to be part of.  I hope to see many of you in Austin! Yet, before I did that, I wanted to get a quick blog post up before I left.

So one of the things I have been busy with these past few weeks is talking to people and clients about how they can get involved with Social Media.  The question I get a lot is

” What are the steps we need to take to get involved with Social Media?”

So, I went to my community to see what they thought. Here are some of the great responses I got:

Erica Friedman Publisher at ALC Publishing, President of Yuricon:

1) What is the goal of getting into social media?
2) What ROI are you looking for?
3) What message are you sending?

“Social media” is no more a golden ticket to success than having a website was in 1996. ‘If you build it, they will come” does NOT apply to social media. You need to find the audience where they already are and address them in those spaces. If you’re throwing up a MySpace page, when your audience lives on Slashdot, you’ve just wasted gobs of money and time. Don’t assume that “audience” translates to “market.” 13000 followers on Twitter might not mean a single extra sale. You need to know what you’re doing and why otherwise, it’s just more empty promotion-speak.

Adam Ralph, Student:

1. Watch and Listen. Use Google Alerts – determine what the online community is saying about your brand. Try to understand the space before taking the plunge.
2. Consider how these communities operate and how your brand can join the conversation. Determine how joining the conversation fits within the overall brand marketing strategy and brand personality to ensure appropriateness of fit.
3. Join and participate – slowly. Start by responding to relevant posts about your brand. Gauge user response to your involvement. Always stay true to your brand – recognize that your customers, partners and boss WILL see the post.

Think JetBlue (http://twurl.nl/v5jtnj) not Ryanair (http://twurl.nl/z0nt5v).  Also, check out this post on Sponsored Conversations: http://twurl.nl/y2suiq

Ellen Friendland, President & Producer at Voices & Visions:

1. Request employees to set up pages on LinkedIn and set up a company page on LinkedIn.
2. Request employees to set up pages on Facebook and set up a group or cause page on Facebook.
3. Assign as the responsibility of a marketing/sales employee to be on top of newly emerging, relevant social media sites and to craft little status messages he/she can give the employees to include on their pages (eg, Person X is watching the Y Corporation video about the company’s new product…)

Michael Rosenfeld, VP of New Business at Mediasmith:

There are a number of reasons for participating in Social Media.
I have highlighted a couple quick gut check questions for you.
Answer the following:
1) Will participating in Social Media move your corporate agenda forward?
i.e. Will it sell more inventory, will it communicate your message in a relevant manner, will it create positive awareness of your product/service offering?

2) Is your target audience participating in Social Media in a way that you feel you can participate?
Are they sharing intel on Yelp, Twitter, participating in LinkedIn, FB and the like, are they active readers in community environments that you think you can message to?

3) If YES to the above:
Do you have the resources to support a SM practice internally or must you outsource? Do you have the time, effort, intestinal fortitude to create a twitter profile and then maintain it, upload videos on content distribution sites and tag and monitor replies, create a FB or MySpace group, profile, fan page and maintain it with relevant information that is compelling and again engaging. Can you do this in a manner that doesn’t derail your current marketing efforts?

The new frontier in digital media that enables customer response and interaction is not for the weak of heart, especially if you don’t have a plan or reason for existence. If you feel you need to have your company voice in Social Media have a strategy for success or at least milestones to check your performance. Any good campaign starts with a plan, “who do you want to talk to?” and “what do you want to say?” From there everything from creative ideas and communication platforms can be determined. There’s room for everyone and there’s plenty of opportunities to be successful you just have to do your homework and be prepared.

Alexandra Samuel, Social Media Strategist

1. Listen.

No matter what industry you’re in or how sensitive your organization, you need to be doing social media monitoring. At a minimum, set up an iGoogle page and add feeds from Technorati (to search for blog posts about your organization), Twitter search (for tweets) and delicious (to see what people think is worth bookmarking on your site or news coverage). Track the reputation of your company, brands/products, key leadership and industry, and discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie online. (Hint: no news isn’t necessarily good news!)

2. Think.

As a number of other respondents suggest, you need to think before acting. What are your key goals for social media, and how do they align with your other marketing, communications or business goals? What audiences are you trying to reach, what message do you want them to get, and where are they likely to receive it? What strengths do you have as an organization, and how could these strengths be leveraged or developed in new ways online?

Develop a coherent (if not complete and exhaustive) strategy, if only to establish the parameters under which you will or won’t comment on blog posts and other online discussions of your company or brand. Better yet, identify the key opportunities — the one or two social networks to focus on, the blog or online community you want to launch yourself — and develop a creative approach that delivers real value to your customers in those specific contexts.

This is also the moment to ask yourself: do you even want or need to engage with social media? Yes, everyone should be monitoring — but there are organizations that are not ready to speak for themselves in the rough-and-tumble of blogs and social networks. If you work in a sensitive field (e.g. law enforcement) or a highly risk averse organization, less may in fact be more (at least for now.)

3. Engage!

Once you’re clear about your fundamental strategy and key opportunities, it’s time to get your feet wet…without getting up to your neck in criticism and conflict. Whether engagement looks like commenting on the occasional blog post, or launching your own full-scale social media presence, be sure to plan for a variety of eventualities: from public criticism to (far more common!!) apathetic uptake.

Start your social media engagement in a form that will be robust in the face of limited success: launch a blog that works great even with few comments; leave encouraging comments for those customers who take the time to say nice things about you online. Build your level of engagement over time as your confidence and experience grows, and make sure you leave yourself the resources (dollars, staff, attention) to not just hope for success, but ensure it!

There you go! Some great responses from some great folks!

What do you think the steps companies need to take to get involved with Social Media?

March 12, 2009 By : Category : Blog Tags:, , , ,
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