As we look back over the past few years, social media evolved slowly. Most corporations started with the tactic of outlawing Social media by employees. After all, like personal cell phone usage, it was viewed as a distraction from the work at hand. Now things have evolved, and progressive organizations have learned that social networking by employees (if done correctly) enhances the company’s brand and strengthens relationships with customers.
The challenge is to have a plan for coordinating social media strategy across multiple components of your organization – sales, marketing, IT, research, public relations, HR, etc.
There seem to be a variety of schools of thought on this. Some organizations require each department to create their own social media strategy. Others build one strategy and try to engage every person in the organization to participate. Some outsource. Here are some examples in our industry: Lead Strategist, Group Social, Oursource
In the case of RPR, Zillow, and Trulia – you see a primary person leading the social media strategy and participation throughout the company.
The strength of this strategy is:
- The voice is more focused
- The social media guru monitors the company statements to limit liabilities
- You have a person listening for your brand mentions across the web
- You have a person responsible for reporting on the impact of your social media strategy
The weakness of this strategy is:
- The social media person becomes unliked, and that impacts your brand
- The social media person leaves the company and your brand looses its voice
- Employees do not enjoy following the leader
- The personality can overwhelm the brand
- Costly employee
In the case of Clareity Consulting, 1000Watt Consulting, everyone participates and supports each other.
The strength of this strategy:
- Customers pick the personality they like
- Topics are diversified
- Losing a staff member does not unravel your customer relationships
- Friendly competition among company participants
- Not Costly – use existing employee resources
The weaknesses of this strategy
- Some staff members are simply not good at social media and forcing it on them produces poor results
- There is often no coordinated effort – each person is their own Maverick
- Popularity of one personality over another can create infighting
- They can step on each other when buzz-monitoring
Outsourcing has a lot of advantages, and is most popular among junior level public companies. These companies are likely to use the services of their ad agency or a specialist agency. I had the opportunity to work with NetgenPR on a project last year. Because Advertising and PR Firms are in the business of supporting brands through social media, their execution is always on target and they meet the goals. They also are keyed into the latest and greatest strategies for accomplishing goals through social media. Additionally, their established networks can give a company a boost.
The strength of outsourcing
- Strategy is fresh
- Goals are clear
- Effort is steady and well defined
- Progress is measured
Weakness of outsourcing
- Company does not have their own voice
- Message can become either distilled or too sensational
- Still requires internal participation
Every organization will have additional reasons for pursuing one strategy over another. In the end, your social media strategy needs to fit with the culture of your organization. What is crucial is that you have a good plan in place, and that you measure the results.
WAV Group has worked with numerous companies over the years to develop strategic social media plans. Here are come key top line components for you to consider.
1. Control – who is in charge?
2. Content – what do you plan to say this month?
3. Mix – make sure your content has variety without going out of bounds
4. Audience – who are you saying it to?
5. Frequency – how often are you socializing
6. Where – what networks are you going to focus on? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
7. Conversion Report – traffic, comments, leads, purchases, etc.
8. Influence report – followers, friends, RSS subscribers, newsletter subscribers, brand mentions, etc.
If you need help building your social media plan, feel free to contact anyone at the WAV Group (our social media handles are on the left under the Connect with Us tab). We also provide plan reviews to enhance your strategy and produce better results. WAV Group does not provide Social Media outsourcing services, but we can help you select a vendor or employee that meets your needs.