TCG Roadmap: Online On Target

Social Media 3

The following is the third post in a series on social media. (Pt1/Pt2)

How will you set up your employees for success?

Are you planning to engage with your customers via a corporate presence only, or are you empowering all employees to represent the brand?

If you choose the latter path, you will need to develop best practices and hands-on training to ensure a consistent representation of your brand’s “voice.” You’ll also need to equip workers with the necessary tools and software. Even if you plan to rely solely on a select team to represent your brand via social media, all staff members should be provided with company guidelines regarding posting content, managing feedback and handling negative commentary. Most organizations post their policies online. Work with your legal and human resources teams to develop guidelines that are right for your organization.

How much will you budget?

Most interactive tools are free, but there are expenses involved in maximizing their use for your organization. For example, establishing a Facebook presence isn’t costly, but advertising can help drive traffic. Consider all resources when developing your budget, including time to create, implement and maintain your presence; additional staff to hire on a full-time and contract basis; and activities to continuously engage and build your community.

What’s the plan for integration?

Social media efforts should complement your traditional public relations and marketing programs. Consistency across all platforms and in all messaging will help ensure a more vibrant brand presence. Decide how your public relations and marketing teams will be involved with social media efforts to help produce positive overall results. If your company has regional or international offices, you’llwant to identify early on how to keep your programs in sync.

How will you measure success?

There are many ways to evaluate the success of your efforts. Popular metrics include increases in traffic, membership, positive feedback, referrals, revenue growth and mentions on other sites. Look carefully at your goals to determine what blend of metrics will be right for your firm. Also consider how you’ll shift gears: If your initial efforts fail to produce the results you want, what resources can you tap to strengthen your program?

10 Resources

The Web is full of information on how businesses can benefit from social media. Following are 10 free online resources that can help as you create your social media strategy:

• 50 WAYS MARKETERS CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO IMPROVE THEIR MARKETING, chrisbrogan.com >

• FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS SUPERGUIDE, Interactive Insights Group >

• FREE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING TOOLS, Take Me To Your Leader >

• iMEDIA CONNECTION PODCASTS >

• MARKETING MATTERS WITH M7 >

• MASHABLE, THE SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE >

• SOCIAL MEDIA GOVERNANCE: POLICY DATABASE >

• SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING GUIDE, SEOmoz >

• THE SOCIAL 7 >

• TWITTER TOOLS LIST >

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.

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