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You don’t suck at social media. No way! Your follower counts are up. You’re getting conversions and click-throughs. People are finding your social media channels and you’re putting out posts, videos and information. You’ve got it under control. You are a Social Media Master!

Or are you?

As social media professionals, we all understand the the subtle difference between being on social media and having a social media practice. We know it’s not enough to just have the basic social media channels covered.

We know social media has changed the communication playing field; we develop our messaging and posts to be viral, hashtagged & LOL-worthy. But even with all of that, many companies have forgotten, or simply don’t understand the most basic fact of social media:

Social Media is a Social Platform

It exists to connect people to people, and people to the information they need, when they need it.

And when this fact is not at the heart of your social media practice, your company will suck at social media.

Do any of these apply to you?

You may not think so…but what do your users think?

People follow and engage with your brand on social media when they perceive a personal benefit. Consider – what are you giving your followers?

What kind of content are you pushing onto their stream – is it something they want or can use? How much time do you dedicate to engaging with your followers? What happens if someone posts a legitimate concern about your business on your channels, or on their own page? Or if someone asks for help – how quickly are you responding?

Our role as a corporate voice on social media is to connect with people, and help them get the information they need, when they need it.

Five ways to not suck at social media

  1. Know what you’ve gotten yourself into

People use social media because they can access information on demand. If your company is choosing to benefit from having a social media presence, it is also accepting the responsibility of providing timely, accurate information.

With great power comes great responsibility. Use it well.

  1. Consider your tweets from your user’s perspective

To be social media-worthy, consider your user’s perspective when drafting your messages. Ask yourself:  How will this benefit my users? What will they gain from this post?

If the answer is not obvious, find a way to make your message relevant. Or use another channel; some information may be better suited to your newsletter, blog or website.

  1. Monitor, respond & connect

If you’re not monitoring your company and brand name online, you’re taking a huge risk with your corporate reputation.

When you come across conversations about your company, reach out. At minimum, Like or Favourite the comment. If it’s a positive comment, retweet & share – show-off the love! And don’t forget to respond; thank them for their comment, build a connection.

If you get less-than-favourable comments, reach out. Let them know you’re listening and take steps to resolve their concern.

In the words of the great Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

ProTip: If you’re dealing with a complaint or tricky situation, take it to a more private channel as soon as possible; ask them to DM/PM/email. This gives you a better forum to gather specific information about the concern and respond with fewer character restrictions, as well as providing your user the courtesy of personal attention.

  1. Anticipate 2-3 tweets ahead

Whether you are responding to users or sharing your corporate updates, consider the responses you may get to your post. This helps fine-tune your message to minimize any negative response, or address any missing information. It also helps you prepare for possible followup responses.

  1. Have a risk management plan

If Rob Ford’s shenanigans have taught us anything, it’s knowing that how we deal with problems is more important than the problem itself.

Accidents, bad press, disasters and even haters need a plan. Ideally, your corporate crisis communications & risk management plans are connected to social media, accelerating your company’s response in an emergent situation and ensuring timely, accurate information flow.

If you don’t have a risk communication plan in place, it’s never too late to evaluate possible risks to your brand and develop corporate messaging. Better a plan be not used, than an off-the-cuff response escalating a delicate situation.

user_experienceEven with all the best practices, good corporate social media can’t happen in a vacuum. Ideally, social media strategy is integrated throughout your organization, connected to customer service, sales, HR & other key business areas.

Integration turns your social media channels into strategic business tools benefiting not only your users, but your whole business team. Your business team better understands the role social media has in meeting your corporate goals and in benefiting your customers. Your social media presence becomes stronger with more corporate support and information. The net result; greater brand trust & user engagement.

It’s a Winning Combination for Everyone

Stand out from the crowd; be one of the select companies who understands & utilizes the nature of social media and the potential it offers – to both your users and your bottom line.

And rock your social media!

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