Most companies and organizations now realize that social media engagement is a time strain. There’s really no good way around it.
Strategy takes time. Listening takes time. Blogging takes time. Commenting takes time. Video production takes time. Tweeting takes time (so much that big brands such as Pizza Hut are even dedicating staff to just this platform). But, guess what? Building relationships also takes time.
The big question then becomes, what’s the value of strong relationships to your company? It’s safe to say that relationships are crucial to most any company, which warrants dedicating someone to manage your online reputation and engage with your target audience. Not just anyone will do.
Top tier social media analysts such as Jeremiah Owyang and Beth Kanter will attest – social media takes time. Jeremiah probably dedicates more time, social media knowledge and analysis to the space than anyone I follow. It’s beyond impressive. The difference between people like Jeremiah and others that have been assigned to “learn social media for their job” is that they are beyond passionate about what they do.
Granted, chances are that you don’t have someone like Jeremiah in your company that regularly tweets between 4-6 a.m. That’s no excuse to completely ignore social media and the overall importance of online communications.
Social media is not something to completely turnover to an intern or new junior hire. Make a new strategic hire or at least seek out the member of your communications staff that’s passionate about social media and help adapt their job. Make time for that person to help everyone else navigate the space. It may require a perspective and priority shift, but there is no ignoring the Web. It’s time to embrace the fact that people are aggressively connecting and conversing online and you need to be part of that conversation to compete, protect and engage.
As a baseline, here are a few tips to get the ball rolling once you have an assigned point person who can devote an hour a day to complete the following:
1) Manage the listening & monitoring process (your own company, competitors, overarching industry trends, online communications/marketing trends, case studies, etc.). Distribute daily monitoring updates to all necessary team members, executives and department leads.
2) Conduct regular hands-on “digital bootcamps” that cover using popular social media platforms and tools. Use this time to answer questions and begin discussing your company’s social media strategy.
3) Compile a weekly “digital digest” (using a company delicious profile is another way for multiple people to share great sites, posts, resources in real-time but may be overwhelming for executives who prefer snapshot updates) that keeps tabs on the latest social media trends and tools.
4) Conduct regular social media strategy meetings that include cross-department leads (PR/Marketing, customer service, business development, etc.) to ensure all aspects of the company are being met.