Too many companies have been diving first and then trying to sort out the issues later but I believe this could severely handicap a company's success. Too often, we don't get a second chance to implement a social media strategy. There's a growing graveyard of abandoned social media projects, including corporate blogs, started by companies with talented employees and great intentions.
Being careful to develop a great foundation will allow a company to benefit much more when implementing social media technologies to save money, grow revenue and improve communication with employees, clients and prospects.
- Platform – It's not enough to use what everyone else is using when it comes to your company. Every platform should be reviewed for security, privacy, backups, maintenance, optimization, integration support as well as understanding the resources needed to implement and maintain the platform(s).
- Transparency – it's important for companies to recognize that this is not a brochure site, nor is it a place for spamming. Employees, prospects and clients want you to utilize social media because they want to know YOU and fully understand how a relationship with you will benefit them.
- Consistency – You must fulfill people's expectations for content and periodicity. Social media is not a sprint, it's a marathon that often requires a lot of resources to engage the audiences early on.
- Passion – Your success will largely depend on finding human resources who love the mediums. Making resistant employees implement and utilize social media will instantly ring false and ultimately result in failure.
- Participation – A social medium's power is in the numbers. Commenting and networking drives traffic and rank in social media. You must promote and reward participation… especially in the early days of growth.
- Momentum – Along with consistency, it's important to recognize that social media isn't something you turn on. Growth and success requires steady, unrelenting, and consistent effort.
- Committee – Diversity in implementations will result in better results since different employees are attracted (and often distracted) by different tools. It's essential that a team share strategies and goals to provide direction.
- Coordination – Social initiatives that are launched in a silo grow slower and often fail. Physical integration between mediums, automation of content, and coordination between departments is a must to quickly grow your program. Promote your social initiatives on your site and in email. Push content between each to cross-pollinate traffic effectively.
- Monitoring – Setting alerts and monitoring analytics will allow your team to take action based on the findings.
- Goals – Companies tend to dive into social media without thinking about what they are actually looking to achieve or how they're going to measure success. How will you measure success with your social media program? Fewer customer service calls? More customers? Improving employee performance? Think before you leap!
One of the analogies that I like to provide a company is a look at the Burj Dubai. Currently at 800 meters tall, the Burj Dubai will be the largest skyscraper in the world. At this point, no one actually knows how tall the building will be… the owners continue to extend the planned height.
Key to being able to climb higher is the impervious foundation that the building was built on. The Burj Dubai foundation has 192 piles extending over 50 meters into the ground, covering 8,000 square meters, and including over 110,000 tons of concrete!
Effectively planning and building your company's social media strategy will ensure that it's built on a foundation that will help social media program grow well beyond everyone's expectations. Come up short and your company will risk failure – something all too common.