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5 Keys to an Effective Social Media Program

Social Media can significantly enhance your business’ perception. Social Media can also help your company meet an untimely demise because of the Word of Mouth amplification factor. For this reason, business owners should be extra vigilant and implement measures that help them to effectively monitor and control their brand’s image. No reason for paranoia – most brand communications are viewed as positive interactions; however, a significant error can generate negative publicity at the speed of a click so, it pays to give a little extra attention to your social media efforts.

Key 1: Do Create and Communicate a Strategy
As with all philosophies, your whole organization should understand, adhere to, and help to achieve the goals set forth concerning the use of social media. The policy, the responsible party, the team members, the expected spend, the desired return, and the action plans to attain that goal should be known by all affected members.

Implementing a strategy without broad communication can lead to disastrous results. We can usually avoid the “I didn’t know” syndrome with inclusive internal processes and communications.

Key 2: Do Review all Communications Prior to Distribution
If not you, then employ someone whose judgment you can trust. Please - do not underestimate this point. Too many typos, too many grammatical mistakes, too little substance, or too little engagement will annoy fans, followers, and subscribers. A bad day, maybe, but a consistent pattern of poor choices in your communication strategy and consumers will begin to question the quality of your product and the value of your service. They wonder, “who’s behind the wheel?”

Our goal is not to create doubt but to encourage our consumers and to confirm for them that they made the right choice.

Although companies large and small are adopting the use of social media for their marketing campaigns, many are forgetting to consider the risks inherent in having a social media presence. 3 Greatest Risks Posed by Social Media

Key 3: Do Use a Social Media Dashboard
Social media dashboards enable you, your program manager, and team to see communications to social networks prior to distribution, to schedule as appropriate, or to assign tasks. There’s nothing like coordinating efforts and keeping everyone on the “same page.” At-a-glance the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, which can significantly increase team productivity.

Buffer and HootSuite are great for small businesses. The platforms are easy to use and free or low in cost.

Key 4: Do Reciprocate
Depending on your business size, strategy, and degree of brand recognition you may or may not follow other people and brands on twitter, facebook, google+, etc. However, startups and small businesses benefit from following others, sharing their info and commenting on relevant material that’s not their own. Reciprocating helps to build rapport and goodwill.

Also, no matter the business size and degree of recognition, all businesses should respond to consumer inquiries. Negative reviews are 20% more likely to be remembered and shared than a positive review; however, if that negative review is addressed, the company is more likely to survive than a company that does not address the consumer complaint.

As a matter of reducing unnecessary risk, customers should simply not go ignored.

Key 5: Do Use Analytics
Last but not least, all business types of any size should use tools such as Google Analytics. In the world of business data, analysis, and supported conclusions are highly desirable for internal and external communications. Implementing measures to track the effectiveness of your efforts do not detract from your passion or mission nor does it guarantee increased returns for your efforts. However, it provides talking points to set goals and targets for the organization and to garner external investor interest. An added benefit is that Google Analytics and private label analytic tools are generally reasonably priced and fairly easy to use.