Plan for the Worst. Prepare for Success. Don't Be Scared.

I've noticed a common thread when businesses decide not to pursue a social media strategy—apprehension.

Social Media Can Be Scary…

Social media is an unknown for many marketers. They’re afraid of what their consumers might say and what they’re employees might do. There’s a lack of control that makes things feel, understandably, a little uneasy.

….But It Shouldn’t Be.

Brands shouldn’t be scared to start implementing a social media strategy. They should be scared not to! The channels are already available to employees and consumers alike to share their anger, spread information and reflect poorly on the company, and if the channels are available, those actions are taking place with or without a brand having a social media presence.

However, if a brand is engaging through social platforms, it has a way to communicate and mediate issues as they occur. On the other hand if they aren’t there, they must struggle to get something going, which means they're already late to the party.

Proactivity is a Defense.

Building your social media presence makes brands safer because being involved means the brand is starting to build a community of advocates who will be there for in good times (i.e., to spread the word of a campaign) and in bad (i.e., to help deal with detractors). Building a community takes time, but it’s an investment in a brand’s long-term defense. It’s not built the second it's needed. Start now to prepare for the future.

Don’t stop at building a community. Set yourself up for success with the right tools, including a monitoring platform, a crisis plan and the necessary resources to devote the time needed to nurture the community.

The road down social media engagement has its bumps, but with the right plan, tools, attitude and communication strategy, it can be a pretty fun road trip.