From celebrities who get their personal photos leaked, to hashtags that go wrong for brands – we’ve all witnessed the power of social media to destroy someone (or something’s) reputation. But used right, social media has immense power. Whether it’s reaching your target audience and connecting with them as a brand, selling more of your products or services, or even recruiting more great employees – you can’t afford to ignore social media any longer.
But how do you as a growing business manage this powerful tool so that it works for you, instead of against you? Here are our top tips on coming up with a social media strategy for your small or medium-sized business:
Before you begin, you need to ascertain which employees will be public facing and which will not be. For example, you might have official company social media channels and then a few select employees who will be tweeting as Michael Smith, CEO of xxx Company. Other employees may have a Twitter account but it is not at all affiliated with your company. Define these roles, and decide strategically which individuals should be linked to your brand name. It may also be beneficial to include a disclaimer in the bios of these individuals such as “views expressed are mine and don’t necessarily reflect those of my employer”. You should speak to a lawyer to find out any other legal ramifications applicable to your business and bear those in mind when drafting your social media policy.
Get their input
As a small team, every opinion is valuable and can get some airtime. Hold a meeting or ask for your employees’ input on what they think is wise, taking into account your company’s unique position in the marketplace. You should also educate employees on the power of social media and explain how various platforms work, so they understand the risks of engaging on each one. Consider access to social media during their work days and how often they need to access it, bearing in mind their roles. You may not want employees to be sitting on Facebook eight hours a day, but try to make your social media policy positive, rather than a long list of things they cannot do.
If you’re a growing business, you may only have one person managing all of your official social media accounts. Invest time in training them up on how to maximise each platform, plus how to react in a crisis. You also need to be very clear on the tone of your communication and keeping it consistent across platforms. For example, you may want to position your brand as friendly, helpful and humorous, and then this should flow through every single social media interaction.
Make it clear which topics are okay to discuss on social media and others which are not. Some companies prefer to steer away from controversial topics like religion, while most also restrict the use of swearing. You also need to clarify exactly what your employees should not share, such as confidential sales figures, product information or upcoming campaigns. When emailing everyone about an exciting new future campaign for example, you should probably add a reminder at the end, that none of this information is to be shared on social media until xxx date.
Keep it fluid
Social media is adapting all the time, so don’t get bogged down by the nitty gritty of each platform. You should also update your policy regularly (every few months) to incorporate changes in this rapidly advancing digital world.