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Dec
14

How to create a Social media strategy that works

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This post is born from the fumes of rage when the industry elevates people to the guru pedestal because they have only managed a single account for a popular brand all their life. One research organization’s senior social media analyst is someone who championed the use of an internal platform at a big software vendor. My take on this is that its not a challenge if you have a guaranteed audience, lack competitors and can mandate participation.

The other is the analytics evangelist of the big search engine who shares his recommendations for social media measurement. His tips are good and so is his analysis. Where he errs is his assumptions. Two in particular: he believes content is king but forgets that its people who create influence. No matter how good your content is, social media is not only about sharing, much more about the art of influencing people.

The other is that his analysis is based on an account he built as the chief evangelist of the biggest brand in the space. So he does not have 50K followers only because he is awesome, but also because a lot of people are hoping to get glimpses of insider info from him about the brand. So my advice is: try creating a new anonymous account and let’s see how you build it up. I am happy to challenge you, start at the same time and I’ll beat you hands down…

Is your social media guru like this? Leave a comment!

Anyhow…

There are three things that very often get neglected when creating a social media policy, and these will cause its failure.

Mandate it and it will fail
Write it down and it will fail
Make it all encompassing and it will fail

Sounds harsh? Leave a comment!

Any social media strategy that hopes to make a positive impact has to be a simple robust discussion that talks to everyone in the company. You can try and mandate hard and fast rules but there will always be people who will not know them, will ignore them or will intentionally break them. And it does not matter that you were right once the damage is done.

Instead, turn it into an ongoing discussion. Let people explore the alternatives in those discussions without judgement right there, right then. Very often, peers’ experience is the space will be more influential than a sheet they sign during induction.

Once I had two firm believers with very different views on whether or not you should/could have multiple accounts on Linkedin. While them two remained unchanged, they made the team reflect on the risks and advantages, on how you could do it best if needs be. I rounded the discussion up with the story of a competitor who had to close down his business after the severe social media backlash he got because his agency was using fake accounts in Linkedin to spam people.

Participants did not need to take an oath, they knew what the best practice policy was.

Writing this down as part of the ongoing conversation is good. Writing it down so it turns it into a boring legal document full of corporate speak that nobody reads, understands or follows is not so good. If the only time it is used is in disciplinary proceedings… Awesome… What use is it then?

Alright. I admit. I am exagerating to make the point. But I want to make it loud and clear: the best social media strategy is rooted in good habits of best practice. You don’t get that from a book or a legal document or a training video.

Disagree? Leave a comment!

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