“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” – Matt Goulart
The rise of social media has been nothing short of spectacular and impressive and is now ubiquitous and ever present and has become a major part of both our professional and personal lives. Just like mobile phones, life without social media now seems unimaginable. Companies are obviously taking advantage of its reach and power and embracing it as a vital business enhancer. It is important to use social media well – be the master of social media to optimize its advantages and the opportunities it brings about. Poor and ineffective use of this potent medium can have serious repercussions for companies and individuals and therefore one must learn to be the master of social media rather than letting it control us.
To be the master of social media a company must dedicate time and effort and have robust policies and stringent guidelines in place for the specialized employees who will be responsible to manage it. Some companies even hire outside vendors and experienced content writers to ensure that whatever is conveyed through their social media sites. The important thing for companies to remember is they want to be the master of social media is that their employees are company representatives and so they must always remain mindful of how they use social media even on their personal time and capacity. Turning our attention back to companies, what can they do be the master of social media – what are you doing?
- We know that social media is a highly visible platform and anything that a company puts up here speaks about the company, its culture, character and its identity. Everything posted on these sites will be viewed as the opinion of the company and its leaders and hence it is vital for companies to stay completely in control of the content and their online ‘behaviour’. Interactions must at all times be extremely measured and professional for your company to be seen as dependable and worth doing business with.
- As a company, make it imperative for everyone working there to use social media judiciously. Employees – all levels must be given clear and written policies of what constitutes acceptable ‘social media conduct’ and what would be taken as violations of internet code of behaviour. Employees must realize that their conduct on their personal sites would also reflect well or poorly on the company. Use of personal sites must be restricted while at office and essential training be provided to the employees on the decorum to be maintained on-line and how to uphold the dignity and respect of the company and the brand. There should be a dedicated team to counter any online crisis but all employees must also be made aware of how to deal with any emergency situations.
- To be the master of social media, companies must ascertain why they use it. They must put in place policies that clearly define the purpose and scope of this medium, what constitutes behaving professionally when on it, how to protect the information and privacy of the company and its people and how to deal with customer ire via social media.
- Many companies also use social media to post various job openings in their company. They also search candidates via the person’s social media presence and the profile that the person has uploaded. It is so much easier to get candidates of choice since the information is so readily available. Companies however, must refrain from sharing the personal information on the profile without the consent of the candidate. It could amount to privacy violation and create trouble for a company. The person’s background and other details must not be used to discriminate against them as this could get your company slapped with a long and arduous lawsuit.
To be the master of social media, companies must realize that running an organization is as it is a complicated task involving a lot of hard work and they should use this medium to make this task more manageable. A clear and consistent social media plan puts the company’s message across lucidly and reduces the amount of confusion or misunderstandings that inevitably happen. Companies must ensure that the information on their sites is constantly updated to ensure clarity and provide the kind of data that the customers may want. No one likes to read redundant, boring or stale posts.
Even the people dedicated to managing the company’s social media account or accounts must have a clear vision of what is required and conveyed and maintain uniformity across all the accounts.
Another way to be the master of social media is to have a strong leadership that has the capability of leading the social media ‘venture’ and overseeing its running. The policies and guidelines must be continually updated and suitably conveyed to the employees and they personally should also maintain a high level of etiquette and decorum while using the office media sites and their own personal ‘pages’. This point reiterates our oft discussed point, that employees mimic what they see their leaders doing.
There are a far too many malefactors in the virtual world to be ignored. These rogues often ape sites and put up ‘their own sites’ as being that of the company. This can be highly confusing and over time customers might lose faith in the company and their online presence. To be the master of social media, companies must regularly take stock of any such happenings and ensure that these are handled immediately and put in checks and measures to prevent it from happening again. Companies often make the serious mistake of having one or two people to manage their social media presence. This realm is far too large to be handled so and requires a dedicated and large task force to keep problems at bay.
Companies are spread across the country and even across countries and each location would have a team dedicated to the social media platform. It becomes important that the teams interact with each other and also the leadership can have time to meet them face to face. Of course, travelling across the globe to discuss social media may not be cost effective, but there are many virtual formats that allow people to ‘see’ and hear each other even while at a different location. However, these interactions are crucial and must be conducted regularly since the image and reputation of the company is out there for all to see and make ‘assumptions’ about. Give the readers correct information and there won’t be any room for misgivings and miscommunication and your company will enjoy a healthy reputation with its customers.
Getting feedback and inputs from all in your organization on your social media presence is also a great way of being the master of social media. Your employees can give you valuable suggestions and are great at keeping a finger on the pulse of how the company and its brand are being viewed. This is also a highly effective method of refining and amplifying the effect of your social media pages content.
Make everyone in your company a part of your social media efforts to keep your company ahead of competition and constantly improve its reputation.