Before you begin with social media
To ensure a well-planned and properly implemented social media strategy, your company must first take active steps to prepare yourself before deep diving into social media. This involves acquiring education, establishing a policy, protecting your brand and more. In this blog, we will discuss elements that need to be considered before starting a social media strategy.
Educate Yourself and Your Staff
Step 1: Appoint a Team of Social Media Researchers
Your company’s senior management executives must select a team who will become your in-house social media researchers. Their primary objective is to go out, get educated on social media and share that knowledge with the rest of your staff. Qualities to look for when selecting your researchers are:
- Those who are curious, innovative and display a strong interest in new media tools
- Those who practice social media in their personal lives
- Those who are self-learners and can teach themselves to stay up-to-speed
- Those who are comfortable training and educating their peers
Depending on the size of your company, it is recommended that you select a minimum of 3-4 individuals to be your social media researchers. This way, multiple people in your company are equipped with social media intelligence, which is better than relying solely on one person.
Step 2: Enable Your Social Media Researchers to Get Educated
There are a number of free online tutorials covering the basics of social media. However, if you’re serious about social media, it might be a good idea to invest in some of the paid training opportunities that offer advanced information. There are a variety of marketing agencies out there that offer these training opportunities through conferences, hands-on workshops and online training courses. Since your researchers will likely be a group of curious, innovative self-learners, commission them to investigate social media basics online. Once the basic principles are understood, take advantage of paid training opportunities available. Don’t think of sending your researchers to these events as an expense, but rather as an investment into your company’s social media strategy.
Step 3: Have Your Researchers Educate the Rest of the Staff
Though not every staff member in your Marketing Department will be actively involved in your social media strategy, it’s wise to have them get educated on social media anyway. Once your researchers are well trained on social media, have them train your other staff members on what they’ve learned. There will likely be two levels of training required.
Level 1: High Level Overview for General Knowledge -As discussed, not every member of your Marketing Department will be active in the social space. However, they should know and understand the basics of social media. So this group of staff members should receive basic, high level training from your researchers (benefits of social media, overview of the major social technologies, tools and resources available, etc.). Some members of the senior management will likely attend this training.
Level 2: Advanced, Hands-on Training for Implementation Purposes -Within your Marketing Department, you will need to establish a “Social Media Team” (which will include your researchers). This will be the group that will implement your company’s social media strategy, so they will need to learn the ins and outs of these new media tools. In addition to the high level basics, your Social Media Team must receive an in-depth, hands-on training session from your researchers, as they will be on the frontline of your social media strategy.
Step 4: Document Your Training
Be sure to document all your training content and create documents similar to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). An SOP is a detailed description of commonly used procedures, which will be required when it’s time to implement your social media strategy. By logging all your training content, your company relies on processes and documentation, rather than people. This way, if a staff member is away from the office or leaves your company, you still have documentation of all the knowledge that you invested in.
Step 5: Create a Social Media “River of Information”
A “river of information” is a repository of valuable resources related to specific topics of interest. Think of a river of information as an electronic library full of articles, whitepapers, research reports and blog posts about specific topics. Typically, there are many contributors to a river of information and everyone can refer to it to expand their knowledge of a particular topic. Establishing a company-wide river of information on social media will help your employees stay educated on advancing trends and technologies in the social space. You could create your river in a number of ways, such as launching an internal corporate blog or creating an intranet (portal), both of which will allow your employees, specifically your social media researchers, to contribute and share related resources with the rest of the company.
It would be wise for your social media researchers to subscribe to various social media blogs and newsletters. This way, they will receive notifications of any new articles that are released, which they can then share in your company’s river of information.