Featured in Social Media Today, one of my most read blogs from my old site:
Social media strategy and usage in Communications departments requires a bit of a shift in traditional thinking. Often, many organzational leaders view social media as a technological advancement — and while it is, its primary usage is often to promote/conversate/develop content/grow audience. Hmm… this is sounding like Prinicples of Communications Theory 101.
The technology aspect is working with IT people who understand things like SEO and the programing aspect of social media platforms, building apps and using apps that work best with websites etc. (There is obviously much more, but I’m just condensing for space).
While that thinking has to shift a little, there are some things that need to be thought about the same. You still need to run a department that has people with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. You can decentralize who has onus on particular features, but ultimately you need to have content creators and community managers and decide where that responsibility will sit.
Here are 5 best practices for social media implementation in your communications department:
- Role development: One of two things need to occur — either you will need to develop a new role that is responsible for overseeing and implementing your social media strategy, or you will need to look at existing roles and decide where expansion in roles should exist.
- Roles and Responsibilities: Social media can be used by everyone in an organziation — not just communications. However, you need to define solid roles and responsibilities — who develops content? Who manages your community and profiles? Who leads the strategy? Will it all be one person or will it be different people?
- Understand the basic needs of social media in communications practice: If you do not fully understand social media as a leader in your communications department, don’t pretend you do! More importantly, make sure you consult others who have existing social media department models to understand how they set their’s up. The most important need is: WHOEVER you choose to run your social media strategy NEEDS to have a communications and/or marketing background combined with a DEMONSTRATED knowledge in social media principles.
- Demonstrated knowledge in social media principles: Google them. Social media users should have a high Googleabilty factor. More importantly, they need to be demonstrating content development, community management, social media knowledge, involvement in the social media community and of course — newest trends in social media platforms. If they cannot demonstrate this online, then how can they really understand how its used?
- Don’t get technology confused with communications: What you need is a communicator that understands technology. It is easy to become sidetracked when you don’t understand technology.
3 common mistakes:
- Confusing IT and Technological Communications. You need to have a person in place with a solid career in communications first!
- Multiple personalities on one Social Media profile — ie: Corporate v.s CEO. If the corp profile is speaking, then you need to keep it consistent. Let it be one voice manned by one department. If you want your CEO to tweet – the most important principle – be open and transparent, don’t confuse your audience or try to re purpose your corporate account to become the CEO (unless he’s been the one developing the content in it from the get go!)
- Multiple users of one social media account. Community management is essential to engaging and understanding your audience. Too many hands in the pot — no matter how organized or differentiated you think it might be — is never a good idea. Can you imagine if you had several people responsbile for one e-mail account? Yes — it will be that messy. That is why the roles of Community Managers are essential — its a one person job — it can be 1-1 (1 community manager per 1 profile) or 1 to many (1 community manager responsible for multiple accounts).