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What you need to consider BEFORE engaging in social media

Author -  Labyrinth Solutions

It seems like nearly everyone wants to jump on the social media bandwagon, but before you do, here are some things to think about. If you have already started, these points are still worth considering.

  1. Establish a strategy and importantly determine what you want to achieve from the time and energy you'll be putting into it all. How will establishing a huge network in Linked-In, or a large following in Facebook benefit the company? How can these be turned into something that will?
  2. Understand that results will take time - often many, many months. Too many people I've spoken too have heard the super stories of someone becoming famous almost overnight through a successful viral campaign. True, this is possible, as is winning Lotto, but in reality this happens to only a few people. Everyone else can only really expect to succeed through a slow and measured approach.
  3. Understand too that results won't necessarily be as precisely measurable as other forms of marketing might be. Creating and expanding the brand identity is valuable, but how can it be measured? I heard a great analogy recently and it put measuring social media productivity along side that of a company's phone system. We know that it is beneficial to the company, but how exactly can that be measured?
  4. Ensure that you put in place social media guidelines for the company, covering who can engage in it on behalf of the company, what they can and can't say etc. There are numerous stories of unwise postings giving away company information or speaking badly about staff or customers. Make sure everyone is clear about what is expected of them. It can make life so much simpler further down the track!
  5. Be aware that social media has the power to damage your brand as well as enhancing it. Plan in advance what you might do if you get bad publicity. Being able to handle it effectively can actually turn a negative into a strong positive!
  6. If you're using social media to promote the company, keep your staff informed what you're doing and why. You'll probably want to standardise engagement by limiting who can actually make postings on the company's behalf, BUT there's no reason not to get ideas from the staff, perhaps at regular staff meetings?

This is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully by going into social media networking with some planning, your end results will be that much better for it. Good luck!

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