Since this is the holiday week and most people will be more interested in thinking about the New Year than any heavy duty work planning, let’s cover four simple items that should be on your New Year’s social media to-do list. If you already have them in place then pull them out and revisit them and see if they need any updating – they probably do!
1. Update your Customer-Facing Policies
Nearly every company has a facebook and twitter page up and running by now, even if it has very little traffic. Time to take a look at the social media policies that you’ve put up there and see if they are reflect your organization’s current attitude. Many of them were written some time ago when the risks associated with social media were in the forefront and the language used was focused on legal issues. My suggestion: humanize them. Make sure they draw a clear line, but say it in a way that let’s your friends know their input, good and bad, is important.
2. Checkout the Competition
While you’re online check out what your main two competitors are doing. It’s easy to see if there pages are customized and how many friends or followers they have, but take an extra minute and see how engaged their fans are. Although there are strict, cumbersome formulas to determine how engaged their fan base is, for our purposes something much simpler will work. The goal is getting you to thinking about where you stand in relation to their social media efforts and if you are behind, to get you taking action. Simply count up the number of posts, comments, likes, ect. they have on their page per week. Do it for a month or two of history and then count the same way on your page. It isn’t perfect but it should help you realize if you are behind.
Just as you did for your public facing policies check your internal social media policies. Again, are they all legalese or do they give the reader (your fellow employees who you are hoping will engage with your fans via social media) as sense for what social media is, how it can both help and hurt your organization, what they can and can’t do, and most importantly, how they could help participate? Once they have the tone you are looking for get them signed off on (if necessary) and send them out to the organization in the New Year. Reach out personally to the people that you most want to participate.
4. Find a Friend of your Own
This seems the simplest of the four but it is actually the most challanging and can yield the most benefit. Most organizations do not have a deep social media skill set in house yet. Search through your contacts and your linkedIn connections to find other social media professionals, even if they aren’t in your same industry, that you can talk through some of the larger issues we’ve discussed on this blog before (for example, things that will affect your enterprise internally or even the larger market impacts of social media). Find out how they are approaching them and see if they have a social media strategic plan in place that you can compare against yours. It might take some time, but having a group of peers will help you deal with problems when they arise, and take your initiative to new heights in-between.
Happy New Year… Dave