As a marketer, you know that social media is important, though it makes you interact with an audience on a much more personal level than you normally would. What that audience chooses to share can be difficult to predict or monitor. The volume of activity can also be overwhelming, and when you don’t have the budget or capacity of a multi-national corporation, how are you supposed to support someone monitoring your social media on a consistent basis? While you may not be able to see it now, the benefits of online engagement can far outweigh the negatives.
If you’re considering social media for your organization, what platforms are you considering? Of course, you shouldn’t forget about the giants, Facebook and Twitter, which have a combined 1.7+ billion monthly active users. Facebook is a great online venue to be social and friendly, recruit individuals to participate in training or volunteer programs, and to share links to community events, informational blogs, and engaging videos. Time-sensitive content such as headlines, news facts, and quick community commentary is better reserved for engagement on Twitter.
But, if Facebook and Twitter aren’t for you, there are also other platforms, like Instagram and YouTube – both great for sharing visual content, such as pictures and videos. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a platform that will meet your needs and internal abilities!
A few things to keep in mind:
- Be sensitive to your audience and industry. If you're a part of an industry that values or requires confidentiality, make sure you're not posting anything that should be kept private.
- Social media blurs the lines between personal and professional, so be sure that your organization is considering ethical principles relevant to the your industry and that you have a social media policy in place for employees.
- If you create social media pages, you’re in it for the good, the bad, and the ugly. If people post positive comments, make sure to respond and thank them. If they’re posting negative comments, don’t ignore or delete them – users will quickly develop distrust for a page that ignores negative feedback. Always respond, thanking them for the comment. If the mistake was made as a result of something that your organization did, apologize and offer a solution that will fix the mistake. If the comment contains private information, take the conversation to a private communication channel by asking the user to connect with you via private message, or by asking him/her to email or call you directly.
- Have fun! Starting social media efforts can be scary. But if done right, you’ll reap the rewards of greater awareness and trust in your organization.
If social media is something you’re considering, but don’t necessarily have the resources to manage internally, consider working with a marketing agency. You’d have a strategic partner to lean on for advice, guidance, and creative ideas!
Don’t write social media off as a trend – it’s here to stay, so embrace it!