Social media is taking over our lives — in good and bad ways. It’s everywhere we go and in everything we do. If we read an article, listen to music, play a video game, take a picture or a slew of other things, we can share them on our choice of social media. We’ve got social media that’s picture based, post based and tweet based. We use it to interact with friends, find new deals on our favorite stuff, post pictures of our adventures and to advertise. There’s no way to escape the effect that social media has had, is having and will have on our culture. It’s a way of life, and it’s here to stay.
Because of it’s prevalence, social media has become a vital tool for companies to reach their consumers. Whether it’s a “Like” on facebook or a retweet on Twitter, companies are trying to engage with their customers to not only draw them in, but to also get feedback and improve their offerings.
It’s a great tool, but we’ve seen far too often, that many don’t know how to use it properly. People end up posting or tweeting things that are insensitive, inappropriate and do more harm than good for the business. So, what can businesses do to ensure that their social media gurus are on top of their game and keep their companies heading in the right direction?
The education people receive about social media is often nothing more than how they’ve used the service themselves and how they’ve seen their friends use it. That might be fine for a personal account, but it’s certainly not for a business account. Not only are their important tips that these employees need in order to be effective in reaching their audience, but they also need to understand what they should and shouldn’t share. They need to understand social media etiquette (something that more people could certainly benefit from too), so the dialog they’re creating is positive and forward-moving, instead of negative, derogatory and hindering. Investing in training and education is something companies need to be doing to ensure success.
We all know about company culture and how it can positively or negatively affect an organization. Well, the same can be said about a company’s social media culture. First, companies should place the proper amount of importance on these positions. They’re not second-rate employees and they’re not just playing around all day. Social media can have a huge impact, and if employees that are using the company’s social media understand that, it will help them succeed. Also, the company needs to instill a culture of classy shares and posts. They can’t expect incoming employees to adhere to standards that aren’t shared by other employees. Create a positive culture and you’ll reap the rewards.
Use big data. There are so many uses for a big data platform, and one of them should be to monitor what is going on in the social media world. This means that not only will you be able to glean great information from across the social media spectrum, but it also means you can monitor what your own company is putting out. Best of all, this can all be done in real-time. That means if, by some chance, someone from your company puts out something that shouldn't have been put out, you can resolve the situation quickly before it escalates into a disaster. Let’s face it, something you don’t want to come out might come out. With big data you can spare yourself a lot of blushes.
One of the biggest misconceptions with social media is that there’s no accountability for what’s posted or tweeted. That isn’t true and people need to know that, especially your employees. Hold them to a high standard of accountability for what they put on social media. After all, this is your company that’s on the line. It goes back to creating a culture and educating the employees. A culture of accountability and taking opportunities to teach during this time is going to positively impact your company.
There’s so much promise to social media use for companies in every industry. Be smart and don’t let a disaster derail your social media campaign. Educate your employees, create a culture of smart use, use big data and hold your employees accountable. You’ll be glad you did.
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