You are not alone if you feel that your social media program has gotten a bit unruly. You may or may not have adaquate team coverage to stay on top of everything. Or it could be you simply didn't know what you were getting yourself into when you started what you thought was going to be a simple "Facebook page" last year.
Do these sound familiar?
- Tweets flying out of control.
- Lacking at engagement, responding to tweets, comments on Facebook etc.
- Wish you had time for real social media advocacy.
- LinkedIn business page needs added or updated.
- Facebook continuous changes confusing your social media team.
- Board of directors complaining about brand inconsistency.
- Not sure what to do with the new Facebook applications that replaced the Facebook tabs.
- Wishing your design team knew how to add custom images to the Facebook cover image and application icons.
- Brand consistency is lacking because of all of the above.
- You have no idea of the passwords to most of your social media accounts.
- Social listening, how do you do that again?
- Bad dreams of reputation nightmares keeping you up at night. You wish you knew what people were saying about you.
- You have no escalation plan should you have a PR or reputation management crisis.
- ROI, measuring results, what is that?
- To get on Google+ or not get on Google+ is your question.
- Need to add a new comment blog plug-in.
- Have a crazy competitor copycat bugging like a fly at a picnic.
- Blog site performance has hit the ground due to all the traffic.
- Live event coming up and you need to integrate social but where to start?
- Need to implement the integrated email marketing and CRM program you purchased last year.
- Content program. Really needs structure.
- You need to get a life. Weekends are owned by stress, worry & Facebook.
- Friends, kids, fun? What's that?
If the above explains you, take a deep breath. There is hope. I promise you that it is possible to tame the wild social media beast. You are going to have to make a commitment to do such though. Are you ready? Here are a few tips to get you started.
20 Tips to Tame the Wild Social Media Beast
1. Embrace imperfect perfection. This is the most important tip for taming your wild beast. It is never going to be perfect. Accept the fact and move on. Embrace the imperfection and don't expect your team to be perfect either.
2. Your job is not to make everyone happy. Focus on your goals, your business and your results.
3. Don't skip the planning. You must have a solid business plan with goals and objectives. Align the social media plan and efforts where social can have the greatest impact. If you don't know where to start with this, then get some help. Outsource or hire a consultant who can help you.
4. Slow down to speed up. It is not about winning the race. It is about finishing the race with good quality, staying healthy and keeping fit so you can endure. Slow down to take time to plan, organize, hire a team, train a team. You have been without an effective social media program for this long, why not take another 30 or 60 days to get it tamed and right?
5. Eliminate the Random Acts of Marketing (RAMS) and Random Acts of Social Media (RASMs) immediately! If it's not in the plan, not in the budget and has no metrics to measure results then it is a RAM. RAMs like to eat ROI for breakfast and will eat your last dollar without any guilt. Don't ignore those RAM monsters, they'll get ya'!
6. Know your audience. Who are they? What are they? How can you help them? If you don't know them and you don't know what they need or how you can help them then figure it out. Ask them on your Facebook page. Conduct a survey and hand it out at the next live event you host or attend. Conduct an online poll or survey. Do some research on your market segment. Don't just do social or be social, be socially relevant!
7. Prioritize what really matters. Don't wake up each day and let you and your team run around like mad men with no head. Instead stay focused on your plan and achieving your goals. It's easy to get caught up in the tweets and posts that take you on a tangent for an entire day. Don't do it!
8. You can't do it all a once. Chances are there are many things you WANT to do but your team and budget only support a small portion of such. This is why you must develop a plan with goals as well as set priorities. You don't have to complete everything within the next 30 days. Focus on the right stuff first and you'll be fine.
9. Balance both the art and science of social media. Yes, you must know the tools. However, understanding the art of social media is just as important. Anyone can learn how to use Twitter or setup a business page on Facebook. The key is how do you do such in a way that can bring your business results?
10. Less is truly more but sometimes more is better than less. Dig into your data. When it comes to how much content you should put on your website, what kind of content etc. the data has the answers. The data may tell you that your website visitors stay on your site longer if the page has more content. Don't just go with what everyone else is doing here. Look at your own data and make decisions based on such.
11. Get hungry for data. Nothing kills a social media beast faster than a good set of decisions made on the right data. Implement a measurement system to get that unruly beast under control.
12. Do a social media assessment or audit. We do these all the time for clients big and small. You can't get that beast under control unless you know what you're dealing with. Start with an assessment that does the double click analysis on your efforts to date. What are the results? How is your audience responding? Has it brought people closer to you and your brand? Are your words inspiring your audience? Are they being properly nurtured via your email marketing program?
13. Get integrated. If you have been running a silo'd social media or marketing program this is a great cause for your social beast spinning out of control. It's time you accept the fact that integrated is still a valid word and is still used in business marketing. The more you can integrate your social media efforts into your business and eliminate the Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) the greater chance you have of taming that wild beast and exchanging him for some real results!
14. Get the right tools and technology in place. I stated above not to get over focused on tools and tech. However, it is also important that you have the proper tools in place to measure results, engagement, conversion, sentiment, community growth and ROI. If you don't know where to start with this let someone help you. We can do for you in a couple weeks what will probably take you months to learn.
15. Get real on the bottlenecks that are driving inefficiencies. Fix the broken technology and tools. What are the greatest time wasters? What are the manual processes that could be eliminated? Where is your team getting frustrated? Do you have skill gaps that are causing bottlenecks? Whatever the bottleneck is, deal with it. Ignoring it is like feeding the wild beast dessert all day long. He loves bottlenecks. They make him grow and thrive!
16. Make time for the right discussions. If you find your team has a list of things they need to talk about but aren't, make the time. Prioritize time for real discussions that help you get on the same page with your plan, goals, objectives and details for execution. Get someone to facilitate the meeting external to your core team if you have difficulty staying on task. Get out of the office for a day or two and meet offsite if the wild beast won't leave you alone if in the office.
17. Don't be afraid to automate. If you host a regular tweet chat each week then don't be afraid to send a few automated tweets for reminders the day prior and day of. Automation in the right areas can add much peace and efficiency if integrated properly.
18. Outsource what you can't do yourself. If you simply don't know how to write a plan or know you are not going to be able to complete a critical component of your social marketing plan, then by all means outsource it. Keeping it internal for the sake of keeping it internal is only going to feed the wild beast. Find an agency or consultant who will work with you to get a plan in place with a medium term goal of your team taking over more of the tasks. We work with many of our clients in a partnership type of engagement where we start out doing more for them to get them started.We then train them and implement a plan that passes the social media baton to their team when they are ready. The social media beast hates this as it gives him no way he can get in the middle of it and in between our team and the client team.We work as one aligned to one set of goals and objectives, that of the client!
19. Connect with like minds. Don't just sit in your office over taken by the social beast. Connect with people who are also trying to kill the social media beast in their business and life. Connect with folks who have already conquered the beast. Many people online and living in the social world are happy to share their experiences so that you can grow and learn from them. Twitter chats are a great way to connect with like minds. I host #GetRealChat on Tuesday nights at 9pm et. We get real on topics such as this every week! We also have guests often and have had such brands as IBM, Walgreens, AT&T and UPS share with us the ins and outs of how they are doing social media.
20. Hit the beach! Take time for real life! Sitting in the house or office with the wild social beast is doing nothing for you or your business. It is only making your beast feel loved, nurtured and appreciated. Get out there and get some fresh air. You'll be amazed how many new content ideas, solutions for problems and overall inspiration will come if you take time to reset. Rejuvenate to reinvigorate your business!
What you say?
Do you have a wild social media beast in your business? First step is to acknowledge he exists. Second step is to deal with him. We are here to help you as is our community. If you have already defeated the social media beast share your tips on how you did it. How can you help others do the same?
Get a Grip on Social Media:
This is part of the series titled "How to Get a Grip on Social Media." The series will include a free newsletter, webinars, whitepapers, tips and best practices to get a handle on your business and social media.