7 Things To Do NOW If Social Media Falls In Your Lap
Do you manage social media for your business? Are you part of a team that manages this? Okay. If you’re already handling your company’s social media then some of this may be duplicative. But you’ll notice I put it in a nice outlined format so you can skip the parts you already know. Smarty pants.
Recently I had a meeting with someone who had been asked by her company to get them involved in social media. She came to me frightened, alone, and scared. Okay, so that may be an exaggeration, but she was really frustrated and nervous.
She didn’t know the first thing about social media or how to get her company started but suddenly found herself responsible for it. I don’t intend on covering all of the things she, or you for that matter, would need to begin doing. But I will outline here some things that I consider to be the first critical moves. These should be done immediately and are designed to be somewhat easy so you can get started today!
1. Find Out Where You Are
First things first. Figure out where your brand is and isn’t. Knowem.com is an option for checking your brand (or other names/terms) across over 350 social networking sites. Not only that – You can set up an account and have them register the ones that are available for you. There are different pricing structures available, but something to keep in mind: You never know what the next BIG thing will be or where you customers will be hanging out. Don’t miss out on establishing a brand presence in advance!
2. Evaluate Current Presence
Now that you’ve got an idea of where your brand does and does not have a presence it’s time to begin looking at the previously established profiles. Well-intentioned employees before you may have run out and started up accounts.
Detractors of your brand may have started “anti-” pages or blogs. Wrangle up all of those rogue pages. Get control of the ones you can and start tracking and listening to the ones you cannot. Getting an idea about what you’re getting yourself in to will help you plan your next moves.
Grabbing “[your company name]sucks.com” (and other variations) is a tactic in online reputation management that could belong to a variety of departments within your organization. Check with your public relations group and your SEO team to be sure it’s been done. If not – get it done. Should your company ever find itself in an online reputation management crisis you will be glad you registered it instead of an angry blogger.
4. Twitter. Get them.
By now most of us have seen the @BPglobalPR account in action. If you haven’t, take a minute to go read some of the updates from that account. I’ll wait. Back? Awesome. So if you couldn’t tell that is a parody account.
Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you’ve got not only your brand term registered on Twitter but any and ALL relevant accounts. Including @[yourcompanyname]sucks and the like. Use a site like Tweexchange.com to figure out which Twitter handles are actually available based on your brand name or other keywords. If the on you want isn’t available you can check out TweetClaims.com and sign up for notifications of its availability.
5. Start Listening
One of the most valuable things from a brand’s perspective about social media is the ability to listen to your customers. Listen to exactly what they’re saying about your brand, products, services or their needs for them. Start listening to them today.
You can use a couple different tools immediately for free. The most basic is probably the search functionality in Twitter. You can search for your brand terms, product names or other relevant keywords. There are a variety of applications like Seesmic or TweetDeck that allow you to save and monitor these searches in an ongoing fashion. They can be somewhat limiting however.
My favorite tool for tracking mentions in Twitter is Rowfeeder.com. RowFeeder let’s you not only track mentions and keywords but also exports all of them into a Google spreadsheet along with the profile information of the person that sent the update. This allows you to save the information that can be often times lost in Twitter as well as track and analyze the data in an ongoing fashion. They have recently released an update that enables this same functionality in Facebook.
6. Manage Social Media Profile Security
Did you know that if someone at your company creates your company’s Facebook profile page (not to be confused with Community pages) that they cannot be removed as the owner? Even if they leave the company they are still named on the profile as the owner with ability to add and remove all other administrators.
Determine the best strategy for your company in managing this. I would not officially advise creating a fake profile as it is against Facebook TOS, but if your organization is willing that is an option. Dig through the TOS Facebook has developed so you know what you can and cannot do.
Make sure you have documentation for passwords on all accounts in a central place should you, or the person you put in place to manage them, exit the company. Be sure the communities that are cultivated aren’t allowed to walk out the door.
If you’re not currently active in social media and suddenly your company has tasked you with this effort you have a lot to learn. The best way to do this besides reading and doing your research (great start by being here) is to get involved yourself.
Set up personal profiles on all of the major social media sites and jump in. Observe norms, take note of the mechanics of each site and work on forming your knowledge base of how each place operates.
If you don’t already know what your company’s core demographics look like – get on that. Then compare that with the demographic information of the social networks. That will give you a lot of insight into where you should be spending your time and energy engaging.
There’s a lot more to getting your company going in social media but if you follow these steps on day one you’ve gone a long way to protecting your brand in it’s new channel.