Tuesday, 26 February 2013

How everyone in your company can get on board with social media

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You as a business owner do not have to be solely be responsible for every aspect of your online footprints. I’m sure you already have a lot in your plate to do. You can easily delegate certain tasks to your colleagues and partners, especially your social media campaigns, but still keeping a close eye on them and monitoring the activities.
The main reason why business owners do not want to delegate their tasks is the fear of someone else having control, and the worry whether they will post and manage the company's expectations, and whether the quality of the posts will drop. As your business grows, you will need to let go of certain tasks and assign them to others, just like how you have hired someone to manage your website, or take care of editorials tasks, you as the owner can only do so much with your social media account, and fitting it into your daily busy schedule can be quite a task.

What is social media for your business?

Social media is not a notice board where you post everything that comes to your mind, for your business it's more of a customer service, and a tool to build and enhance business relationships and to grow your presence online. So now would you want someone external that doesn't know or have much experience with your business to manage your social media or would you prefer someone in house to do these tasks, which means that you will have to reduce their workload so that they can dedicate some time to the company's social presence. Tuff decision right. 
Every business owner we speak to knows that they need to have a social media account such as facebook and twitter, in fact they tell us when designing the website that “oh make sure you put a link to Facebook” or “I would also need to create a facebook page, to link to my website, could you help us with that”. So everyone knows that having a presence on social platforms is good, but then it just stops there, it's just like another tick in the box. Are they actually fully harvesting and using it how they should. Just like on our own personal profiles, we interact with friends, family members are others that we probably have not even met. We need to take this same concept and attitude onto our business pages. Some of the big brands have nailed social media  marketing and engagement with their audiences, they just do it in such a beautiful manner, such as Starbucks, Best buy, Coca Cola, we as SMEs can learn from their ideas and they way they excite their followers and create an online buzz.
So we all agree that having a social media presence for our business is a good thing, and we need to do it. Great. 
On the other hand we have business owners that spend most of their time on social media but are not doing anything productive, hours and hours are spent daily, and they feel no sense of achievement, because they are addicted to just browsing and surfing through social media profiles and not being very productive.
There has to be a fine line, and it comes down to discipline. Yes social media is important, but you need to be clever with it, and not let it distract you from your business.

Use of platforms

For a business owner as we mentioned it's all about timing, updating ones website can be daunting for some, as it involves taking out time from the actual business, and investing that time to maybe update images, text or writing a blog post for their business website, on the contrary updating the business social media account it's not even in the question. That's why you see many SME’s create business pages for their new business when they launch (tick in the box) and then the pages is abandoned, a few post here and there, and to be honest it's just boring, when you visit such pages, no excitement, you can actually sense that there has been no effort from the business owner. Put yourself in a potential customers shoes, if they came across your social media profile, and saw that it's not been updated for months or days, you probably think the business has gone down under. For such business it's better not to have a page, than to have a page and leave it untouched.

So how do you overcome this obstacle, you have created your business social media accounts; let's say even if its Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, you now need to manage all of these accounts. Rather than leaving them abandoned, the simplest thing would do is to sync them all together, so when you post a notice on one, all of them get updated with the same message. Agree it's not the most practical method, as you will find that your followers on Twitter will engage with you in a different manner to the followers on Facebook and so on, so what might interest one type of audience may not interest the other, BUT it's a start, it's better than not posting anything, but don't consider this has an opportunity to just post everything and to flood your pages with links and text, be realistic about it, spread it out over the day or week, look into when are the key times you potential audiences are on these platform.

If you are not up for syncing accounts and linking them together, you could go down the root of using platforms such as HootSuite, TweetDeck or Social Oomph, and Bufferapp, which allow you to manage most of your social media accounts in one place.

Hootsuite also has an option where you can add team members and give them access to certain profiles. You can use this feature to delegate your tasks to others in the office, and having a good eye on what's happening on your profiles.

You don't have to give all of your profiles to one individual, spread them out, give someone the responsibility to manage your company's Facebook page, and the other to manage the business twitter page and so on.

Set Time

As I have mentioned time is important for everyone, if you really want to succeed in something no doubt you have to give it time, and do the groundwork. Do not expect that if I spend 5 mins a day on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, I will have all the followers that I want and my engagement levels would shoot up. Ask yourself the question, what can you achieve in that five minutes, most probably you will just get time to catch up on what's happening on your wall.

Set aside a realistic time during the day something like 20 - 30 mins, so you have a good chunk of time to put your efforts into building your brand on these platforms. Yes you have to be persistent and keep going and main thing is consistency. You will notice over a period of time you will notice that your followers will know what time to expect you online.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Muhammad Ali

Same applies to if you are going to delegate social media task to your team members, do not give them 5 mins and expect wonders to happen, give them a good investment of time so that they can produce some returns for your business.

Understand company

Before you start to delegate your social media to others, it’s extremely important to give it to someone that actually understands your company, understands your business model and your industry. No point giving it to someone that has had NO experience at all within your industry. How will they be able to justify their posts and updates, it will be impossible. Hence I am a stronger believer that social media should be done in house either by yourself (business owner) or someone that works in your company, they will truly be able to give your profile the oomph that it needs.

Yes if you delegate it outside, the work will get done, you probably will even get the engagement, but something will be missing in the puzzle, your profile will never have that sparkle that it could have if it was done by yourself or in house.

So before you decide to give access to someone even within your own organisation, ensure that they have fully grasped what you want to achieve online and has a good in-depth knowledge about your business and industry.

So now you are ready to hand of the rains of your social media accounts to someone, you have established your goals, you clearly know what you want to achieve from it.

Delegating

When delegating tasks, you would generally chose someone that is at least passionate about the task, has some background knowledge, compare to a complete newbie that has not seen what facebook looks like. Choosing the right people to manage your tasks will take off the load of you, as you just want to monitor, you do not want to end up doing the task for them.

When you delegate your tasks erase the thinking “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself” - this will just make you into a power freak and nothing will be achieved by you and by your team members.

There is no harm in outsourcing and delegating your tasks, as long as there is a good relationship between the business owners and the individual or the organisation carrying out the work. Communication is vital along with being passionate and willing to learn and understand the business.

So whom can I can assign my social profiles too.
  • Someone in your office
  • Family member, usually the one that's always social media and understands it
  • Part time staff
  • Freelancer - someone within your industry that understand how to engage and interact online
  • Organization - a company that specialises and has the manpower to do so.

Image by smarnad (freedigitalphotos.net)

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