Would you hire a professional painting company to redesign the look of your home and not tell them what you had in mind? How about having a financial advisor put your money in whatever vehicles they wanted without your input? How much sense would it make to contract a social media manager, or task a employee to manage the company’s online marketing, branding, audience, connections, and image, but give them little material, direction, requests, or feedback to that end? Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
I trust Certapro Painters of Loudoun because I know they are a good company. I have faith that as professional quality painters they will do a good job making my house look great. But I don’t expect them to know the details of what I want – if I want interior or exterior, the whole house or just a few rooms, if I like wild colors or subdued, trim painted the same or a different color. As good as they are, they can’t create my perfect look without some collaboration from their client. It makes perfect sense in this context, yet so many business professionals treat their social media and digital marketing efforts just this way. Business owners are usually stretched thin with divergent demands, so it is understandable that they would consider outsourcing or delegating this function to get it off their plates entirely. But this is where the challenge lies – how to engage, how much to engage, what do business owners expect others to do for them and what do they contribute to maximize the benefits?
Unfortunately, with social media, or any other aspect of business for that matter, a totally hands-off approach will likely yield less than stellar results and sometimes cause serious problems. Even employees, if given insufficient direction and information, will struggle with their tasks and the organization will suffer. This is also true when hiring a vendor to manage your online presence – without good collaboration and input from the client, even the most sophisticated and professional social media managers will have trouble crafting and maintaining the best personalized image for the company.
Business owners who don’t understand social media as a business tool, may believe content posted on their sites is the activity; they may not understand the power and importance of reflecting the brand accurately or creating a community of interest around the brand. In this case, a social media campaign in simply content distribution and the business is not getting the full benefit of digital networking. If you are a business owners who has someone else managing your online presence, and you want the to get the most from your social media campaigns, follow these tips and feel free to add your own from what has worked for you:
1. Respond to requests from your social media manager – they will use the information you provide to your benefit on your social media platforms
2. Start with expectations clearly spelled out and agreed upon, for items such as content sources, communication channels, posting/interacting frequency, company social media policy, how to engage the audience, etc.
2. Start to develop a social media mindset (topic for a future blog) – think “I’m going to post this article on Facebook“, “I should Tweet about this event” and “I need to link with that person on Linkedin”
3. Send the information from #2 to the person managing your accounts and request specific action – post your item on Facebook, Tweet about your event, and find and request the connection on Linkedin
4. If there is a post on one of your platforms that you question, communicate with your account manager and be specific. Help guide the person’s understanding of your business, brand, and personality. There may have been nothing “wrong” with the post, but if it does not reflect your business the way you would, you have to communicate that effectively
5. Keep in mind that social media is not just about promoting your business. A good social media manager will post articles and links on your platforms that expand your presence, reach, and image. As long as the post is not inappropriate, consider this on the basis of how you audience might benefit from the information
As a business owner, your online presence is as important as any other avenue for promoting and highlighting your company. We encourage you to collaborate with those you have charged with its presentation and together create the perfect social media campaign. Contact us if you would like more information or our free white paper on Social Media for Business.