You've got Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest campaigns planned through year's end, everything is humming along smoothly, and your analytics look great. Suddenly your social media manager announces she's taking a job overseas. Don't panic! Here's an easy five-point plan to save your sanity and keep your campaigns on track.
1.Change the passwords on all social media accounts immediately. No matter how amicable the split, revoking your former employee's access is as necessary as taking back an office key or withdrawing intranet privileges. Any social media manager worth his salt will be expecting you to do this and will understand.
2. Take inventory of scheduled updates and planned content. You need to know what's already slated to be published, and where, so you're not duplicating efforts as you design your plan of attack. Corral the data in a shared document or, better yet, a calendar. Google Calendar is a great (and free!) option for this and you can even find some templates just for social media planning.
3. Identify who will manage your social media accounts until you find a permanent replacement. Remember, this is the public face of your company we're talking about so you don't want to entrust the responsibility to just anyone. The interim person, or people, you select should:
- Have a solid understanding of how social media for business works. It's far more involved than exchanging snarky remarks over Twitter with your friends during the Oscars so select someone with at least some experience.
- Know your company's brand, message, and overall goals and be able to communicate them clearly across all social media channels.
- Be able to interact with followers with the same level of professionalism you expect from your customer service representatives and sales team.
- Is available to monitor your social media channels all day every day, including spot-checking on weekends. Your Twitter and Facebook followers expect you to be responsive so it's a smart idea to have multiple people watching your accounts even if only one or two people are authorized to respond on the accounts themselves.
4. Review sales goals, upcoming holidays or events, and anything else that may affect your social media updates in the near future. Craft several days worth of status updates, Twitter posts, and Facebook messages, then use your editorial calendar to determine the best times and days to schedule them.
5. Now you're ready to begin your search for a new social media manager. Online staffing services like Elance or oDesk may seem like a good place to start but be prepared to sift through a lot of potential mismatches before you find the right person. Since all communication typically takes place over the service's messaging platform, you may experience significant lag time trying to work out details with the contractor you've chosen. Additionally, many companies find the extra costs of using a staffing service prohibitive so do your due diligence before diving into this option.
In the end, you may discover that bringing in an outside social media management team like Real-time Outsource to oversee your campaigns is the best option. With several skilled social media experts assigned to your account you never have to worry your customers will go unheard. If someone needs a day off or takes a spontaneous trip to the Azores, you know your accounts are covered without missing a beat
Hopefully you'll never need to implement an emergency management plan to keep your social media accounts humming, but it's good to have a back-up strategy just in case.