Social media best practice: don’t sink, swim

This blog post was originally written by Martyn and published in SMK.

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Brands are in danger of navigating the tumultuous waters of social media just like the Titanic.
They can clearly see the tools above the water but are running aground on the strategy behind the tools lying under the water. And in most cases – if they’re not sinking – they lie inert.

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There is a natural tendency for brands to want to be seen as of-the-moment. We’ve seen this happen with the emergence of websites, banners, QR codes, apps and now social.

The thing is, once you begin to use the social tools, you are engaging in a very public manifestation (B2C or B2B) of your brand’s DNA. If you get it right then great, but many brands get it wrong from the outset.

We are seeing chaos as companies tweet, post and comment about different things with an internal and external land grab for social media, resulting in conflict and inaction.

Larger businesses are particularly vulnerable here, with many having heavily siloed internal structures. Subsequently introducing social, which is all pervasive, becomes a challenge as it crosses over departments and KPI’s with the danger that social never makes it beyond the confines of marketing – largely killing its true potential.

Before using any social tools there should be planning for potential crises and a process for expansion. We generally see that there are no consistent measurement frameworks and no consideration about a community manager or a moderation policy. In short there is no tight internal plan for embarking on a social media strategy.

FRANk social media agency- best practice for social media--

If we had to pick a large business that is getting it right then we’d choose IBM. Here’s a link to a video of Sandy Carter, who is Vice President, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism at IBM. Sandy is responsible for setting the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiative, working with companies who are becoming Social Businesses, and being the evangelist for the concept and best practices around Social Business.

Most brands (large or small) are socially inept, tending to use the new tools in the old paradigm of one way (push) communications as they talk all about themselves. Nothing could be less interesting. Great minds talk about ideas, and as a brand, you need to work out what the exceptional experience is that will cause your brand’s influencers to come back time and time again to inspire and grow your overall community.

At FRANk we believe that the step-change that is social thinking is in its infancy with big changes afoot in the next 5-10 years.

In the next five years we can expect to see investment go towards the internal operation of business to better understand:

  • The internal dynamics of social
  • Consistent ROI models
  • Social media policies
  • Training
  • The role of the community manager

Most companies are in one of two places. Either they have yet to embark on any kind of social media programme and are secretly hoping that the whole thing will go away, or they are obsessed with gathering likes/followers in a desperate quest to be seen as being popular.

If you want to get it right then start in the right place. Don’t begin your process with ‘How can we use Facebook, Twitter etc?’ (above the water). Begin with the thinking behind the tools (below the water) otherwise you will surely flounder in your ocean of competition.

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