This is a warning to all those businesses and Agencies that are adopting or initiating social media activity for their own or clients business – before you start there are a number of things you must do – not least the introduction of a Policy document. The reason is simple, to protect the brand, to protect the business. As you no doubt have already an email and web use article either in your employment contract or Business practice living on your intranet – please add a social media use policy.
If you have disillusioned or upset staff it is the first step in managing your online profile.
So where do you start? There are a number of documents floating round the web that can help; I have found Adam Brown, Head of Social Media at Coca-Cola and the article written by Aden Hepburn of Digital Buzz to be particularly useful – but of course finding a Lawyer with HR knowledge is essential.
Continuing with the ‘lecture’ can I also recommend Jeremiah Owyang’s article for Forbes where he clarifies the preparation required before jumping head first into a strategy or a one off campaign. Think about it, are you really ready to interact with your customers and critics online?
1. Understand your customers – one that Nestle could have assessed better
2. Carryout a social media audit – both internally and competitors
3. Develop a business process – if you’re multi-sited how will it be managed
4. Create a crisis response plan – how would you react to a damning Youtube video posted on a Friday evening?
5. Create qualified roles – you need a Strategist and a Community Manager
6. Adopt the right organisational model – you may use one tool for purely CRM and the others for sales and promotion
7. Have an education programme – don’t take it for granted that your new marketing assistant has a Facebook page
8. You need a measurement strategy – obvious but you can’t improve if you haven’t measured
9. Plan for mistakes – your team are human, it will happen.