Brands entering the social space usually do so with dreams of countless Twitter followers, Facebook Likers, blogger relationships and so on. While success means much more than numbers, they can be used as one piece of overall success measurement. However, as numbers rise so does the need for effective management.
Nurture Your Community.
No matter what platform(s) your brand chooses to interact with consumers in the social space, it is a commitment from beginning to middle to end. Consumers expect you to be there 24/7 to answer questions, provide information, serve content and essentially, be promptly responsive.
Dedicating the necessary time to a community may be fairly simple in its infancy, but as more people find their way to your community, more questions, comments, multimedia and opinions come your way. Everyone is important, and everyone expects your attention. Attention, dedication and resource allocation are part of the unspoken agreement for leveraging the social space. Without them, any success is only temporary.
Grow With Meaning.
Building your social media presence to anything substantial follows the same rules as any marketing plan: start with the consumer, develop a strategy, execute tactics driven by the strategy and never waver from the strategy.
Social media is a bit different than other marketing vehicles in that it cannot be set up to run, run and then wait for you to view the results. It requires ongoing attention, and as success continues to grow, so does the necessary commitment.
All of this means setting yourself up from success by:
- Laying the groundwork in the beginning with (1) a sustainable strategy that will provide inspiration for content and ideas that build on each other, (2) establishing and communicating a social media policy to all levels of the organization, (3) obtaining executive-level commitment to social media, (4) clearly laying out roles and responsibilities and (5) preparing plans for unfortunate events (i.e., crises, negative consumer activity, recalls, etc.).
- Staying true to the strategy once the effort has gotten off the ground. It's easy to get tactic-focused when things are moving quickly, but your strategy for who you're communicating to and how has gotten you this far. The strategy should inspire your ideas, and ideas should always be put up against the strategy to see if they hold up. If not, more work needs to be done.
- Committing to scale is key to making sure you don't get off to a great start and end up slowing down because it's become too overwhelming. Executive-level buy-in at the very beginning is essential to ensure the resources of time, money, tools and personnel will be able to be committed when things really get underway.
The Need for "More" is Good.
The bandwidth an organization can commit to social media will vary as will what success for an individual organization even looks like. However, social media is a commitment, not a one-and-done. Be positive and prepare for success. Remember, the need for additional help is a good thing!