For some businesses on social media, being proactively social can be fraught with organizational challenges.
In more traditional communication channels, business and brand messages are virtually always meticulously thought through.
When it comes to interacting and engaging with your audience on social media, this ability to be meticulous disappears to some extent. In most cases, you need to be fluid in your approach to interactions, jumping into conversations in real time, and responding to your consumers in short order.
There simply isn’t time to sweat every detail.
This makes some marketers uneasy.
What if something isn’t conveyed correctly? How will I know what’s going on in the social space? What is the legal department going to think about speaking to consumers without their blessing on what’s being said?
These are just a few of the realities that need to be faced when becoming increasingly social on social media, but like any barriers, they can be overcome;
Plan an approach
Planning your approach to being social is key. Set some ground rules, think of every possible disaster scenario and have a plan for how to address it (you’ll probably find that there aren’t many scenarios in which the world is going to end for your brand or business), determine who is going to be responsible for interacting with people, who is going to respond to certain types of questions, and when you need to hit pause and run comments by your legal team for approval.
These are just a few thought-starters, but the point is that the more planned out your approach to being social is, the more comfortable your organization will be with proactively initiating a dialogue with consumers. People tend to be nervous of the unknown; so the more you can do to shed light on what your plans are, the better.
Keep everyone informed
While having every comment, interaction, and response approved up and down the ladder will kill your ability to truly be social, you can keep your team and management in the know with regular interaction reports.
Choose a schedule that works for your organization (maybe weekly or monthly?) to report on your brand’s interactions. In your report, track good and the bad. If someone in your audience had something negative to say, report it, indicate how you managed to shift the negativity toward positivity, and plot out how you can work to avoid similar future negativity (view these moments of negativity as opportunities to make your business better).
Also, don’t forget to report on positivity as well. These are the success stories that will continue to earn you support of management and any naysayers about the power of social media. Reporting on positive interactions will also be helpful for determining who your key influencers are, and determining what it is about your business or brand that gets people geared up.
Ensure that management in on board
Get your management or senior leadership team on board. Simple as that (haha). If you have the consent and support of senior leadership, your ability to be social will be much more smoothly enacted.
Demonstrate to them the opportunity of being a truly social brand and help to make them see the light. If they’re on board, this will make your life one thousand percent easier. Barriers that used to be crippling will crumble, and you will have the support that you need to be successful.
If you gain the support of senior leadership, ensure that you don’t abuse it or take it for granted. Keep demonstrating the power of being social, and show them the positive effect it is having on their business. The more you can demonstrate the effect your interactions are having on their business, the more support they’ll give.
You’ve probably noticed this by now, but I’ll spell it out anyway; the real key here is actually being social yourself. Keeping lines of communication open is of paramount importance to keeping stakeholders in your organization comfortable with your grand plans of sociability. It’s what people don’t understand that makes them feel uncomfortable, and when things are happening that they don’t know about, it’s easy to understand why they’d be disapproving.
Have you ever encountered friction to being social on social media?
How did you overcome that?
Do you have a process in place for your social interactions?
Let’s chat about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
This post builds upon content published previously. For related reading, please check out, Is Your Business Forgetting to be Social on Social Media?, and, Building Relationships by Proactively Initiating a Dialogue on Social Media.