As a business owner, you know you should be social right? Have you thought about how you’d implement a social strategy and who within your company would be charged with what might be viewed a daunting task?
In talking with several small business owners, the quandary is similar. Most understand the need and desire to have an online / social strategy, but don’t have the resources (it does take time and a budget!) and are unclear on the skill sets needed to do it well.
Let’s address strategy first. This always starts with the brand. Is the brand dated? In need of a refresh? If you’re delving into social, it’s a good opportunity to consider your existing and new audiences related to your business development. Social offers opportunities to reach more specific audiences and interact with them in their medium of choice. At a minimum, you need logo variations from rectangle to square in various dimensions and resolutions to accurately portray your brand. You can work with your existing identity to create these as well as implementing a suite of images that represent the brand.
A review of social media channels and the potential for your brand and audiences will determine where you need to be. Setting up the appropriate accounts involves some complexities. In some cases reserving your brand name, even if you do not choose to participate in a particular medium at the outset is a good idea. You’ll want to have one main tagline, a brief summary 160 characters for company bios (Twitter, i.e.) that can be repurposed across all of the channels you want to own. In addition to setting this up, knowing the right companies and experts to follow is key to building your social base.
Also involved in strategy is a review of your annual calendar including events you own; events, products and services you want to support and any content you already have. One of the largest missed opportunities is that content related to your brand that may live in print, like advertising, marketing materials or editorial, doesn’t make it to the social sphere. A best practice strategic guide to social can help this become more turnkey for your business. A secondary yet very important new area for social content involves creating a list of ideas you want to generate content for and choosing some priorities to focus on. Read: added investment.
Now let’s address the other piece of the puzzle. Who in your company will carry this out on a daily basis and provide the transparency and immediacy necessary for good social? Many business owners assume a millennial immersed in their own social media can take this on. Potentially very true. However, business owners seem to feel unsure about turning this over for a few reasons: 1. they don’t understand social themselves and may not be able to provide guidance and knowledge regarding social media 2. they are turning over their entire brand management to someone who may not yet understand all of the nuances of the brand.
Where I believe the strategy and tactics come together is based in an experienced strategist and an employee who is comfortable using social and touches the brand directly on a daily basis. For example, a strategist can set the annual plan and direction for social as well as analytics. The tactical doer, again may be your millennial employee(s). This employee, working with the strategist, can have a shared vision and own your social which means being responsible for posting, interacting, responding and generating content (some companies outsource the content creation portion – i.e. blogs, videos, etc).
Using a strategist and employee in your social is a recognition of the different skill sets needed for social media an a practical application for your business and resources. Ultimately, this converges in an integrated online presence that represents your brand consistently, credibly and accurately with a tone and voice that is authentic to the brand.
Are you ready to set your social in motion?
Image: Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna performance – – quite the balancing act