You’ve all read conflicting reports about how to enact social media inside your company—the questions the discussion raises loom large. Do we ease into social media? How prepared do we need to be when we open up the floodgates? What platforms do we try first, second, or third? Do we need to hire someone to manage social media?
The answer to all of these questions lies in what your business objectives are for social media activity. Social media is no longer separate from marketing, branding, public relations, human resources, lead generation, customer service, or any other facet of a business—it has the potential to be an integral part of each of those departments’ daily activities and play a critical role in success.
The questions you should be asking before any others include:
- What do I hope to gain from engaging in social media?
- Does my business lend itself to being social intrinsically?
- How will I measure ROI?
And most important:
- What does success in social media look like for my business?
Social media shouldn’t be tapped only as a way to identify future employees, but also as a driver for attracting them to your business and retaining them moving forward. Let’s consider for a moment an integrated social media plan for a company that would start at with HR, helping practitioners find quality talent and connect with them. A strong understanding and use of social media in business can also be an influential selling point for young job seekers and increasingly older demographics as well. Once they’re in-house, allowing employees room for personal expression, creativity, and input into social media activities generates a feeling of collaboration and thought leadership that will elevate retention rates as well.
While the solution to creating a social media plan may not seem clear, it is necessary until the content is consistent, the voice is strong, and the program is self-sustainable with engaging users regularly involved. Deciding on a goal that aligns with your business is the first aim; expanding from there is a key for success.
As you start to think about creating a social media plan, keep this outline in mind:
- Evaluate where your company is in terms of social media activity— even if it feels like square one, it might not be.
- Who in your company is involved personally?
- Do they identify with your organization?
- Decide on initial and projected social media goals that align with your current, overall business goals.
- Where do you want to be in six months?
- Where do you want to be in a year?
- Benchmark where your competitors are in this process.
- What platforms have they adopted?
- What level of activity are they maintaining?
- Test the social media waters via internal social media vehicles.
- Internal chatting tools
- Private micro-blogging platforms
- Corporate social networking solutions
A goal as simple as better employee sentiment, would allow social media activity to be private and secure initially. Creating a channel for employees to discuss issues, air grievances, and share information in an internal setting is an easy tactic both to see who is interested in social platforms and to help strengthen employees’ feelings toward your company by listening to them via their preferred communication vehicle.