In large companies it is necessary to have a very complete social media policy in order to avoid as many issues as possible. In large companies the brand will be represented by one person or a small team, so you need to have set guidelines in place for your other employees, informing them on what they can (or can’t) say in their free time. In small companies, however, when you are setting up a social media strategy you should include everyone, from the ground up.
As your company develops its voice online, it needs to take into account a few specific things. You need to identify who you are targeting, what your message is, and most importantly, what your ultimate goal is. Some companies get involved in order to sell products or get new customers. Others, such as Best Buy use social media as a creative answer to customer service. When you know what your goal is, you can develop your strategy, and assign tasks to your co-workers.
I am a firm believer that you should hire someone specifically for social media. I think that it is an important part of your marketing strategy, and it deserves full time attention. I do realize however, that some companies cannot afford to take on new staff, and would rather not put their online brand in the hands of an intern (which I agree with). If this is the case it is a good idea to make the entire team accountable so that everyone has something to say, and everyone will be cautious about the material they put online.
One great tool to get your company familiar with social media from a professional perspective is Yammer. Yammer allows companies to have an “internal Twitter” stream. Someone can administer who is invited, and should urge people to stay involved. Yammer will keep your employees aware of what they are saying because they will know that their coworkers and bosses are reading it. This message should be translated into the real world. Keep in mind, the people that read your content online could very well be a coworker. Another great use of Yammer is to discuss industry trends, and share ideas on blog topics.
The most important part of developing a successful social media plan for a small company is to create (and follow) a schedule. This schedule can have anything on it from someone finding 10 industry blogs that can be commented on, to someone twittering at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 4:45 PM in order to keep consistency. Following a set schedule that people are held accountable for will make the tasks routine, and if you are switching each person’s role it will identify who is good at what tasks!
These are a few ways to put the strategy into action. Using these tools and bringing energy and excitement to the office will motivate your team to get involved and take part in your initiative. Social media should not be looked at as another task to your already busy employees. Instead, it should be an exciting new project that your office does as a team!