Social Media 2
The following is a continuation of last week’s TCG Roadmap post.
How much control do you require, and how thick is your company’s skin?
Most firms recognize that implementing an interactive strategy means relinquishing some control to the community.
Social media fosters a two-way conversation, and the commentary may not always be positive. Although the benefits of participating in these dialogues could far outweigh the risks, it’s wise to evaluate, specifically, what those risks are and how to mitigate them. It’s especially important to be aware of any legal issues. For example, could proprietary information be exposed through public networks? Be sure to include your legal counsel in all discussions at the outset. Also, before launching a program, make sure the organization is ready to act on the feedback it receives, both positive and negative. The information gained can be a catalyst for improving service and creating “customer evangelists” who actively promote your brand.
Who are the key stakeholders, and where will the buck stop?
Who is ultimately accountable for social media strategy and execution? This leader will drive overall program direction, engage other groups in the organization, secure executive buy-in, hire staff and augment efforts as necessary. In many companies, this responsibility rests with the most senior marketing or communications executive. Before initiating any program, the social media leader should clarify the level and frequency of top executive involvement.
Given the nature and pace of interactive programs, it’s not feasible to seek input and approval for every post or tweet. If multiple approvals of key initiatives are involved, you may want to consider establishing a senior level committee to evaluate and approve programs. Many firms have groups consisting of legal, human resources, customer service, marketing, communications and information technology executives who collectively review all social media programs.
Which existing staff members can – and should – support the effort?
What qualifications are necessary to represent the company using social media channels?
Who on your team can be counted on to educate others about best practices and generate enthusiasm?
Perhaps most important, who is currently available to implement the program?
Before looking outside to hire additional freelance or full-time staff, think about current employees who have expressed an active interest in social media tools and trends. When giving people added responsibility, consider their current skills, interests, workload and knowledge of the company and industry. Consider which aspects of the program will be short term and best handled on a project basis (e.g., developing an application for Facebook) versus long term and best performed by full-time staff (e.g., contributing to a blog or providing ongoing customer support).
Interesting Social Media Facts
Number of hours of video uploaded every minute: 20
Source: YouTube Fact Sheet (March 2010)
Number of active users: More than 400 million
Percentage of active users who log on to the site in any given day: 50%
Number of local businesses with active Pages: 1.5 million
Source: Facebook Press Room, Statistics (March 2010)
Number of members: More than 60 million worldwide
Source: LinkedIn (March 2010)
Number of apps available: More than 100,000
Number of downloads per day: More than 10,000
Source: Apple press release (November 2009)
The Creative Group is a specialized staffing firm placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a number of organizations on a freelance basis. Find more information at www.creativegroup.com.