Building the bike as we ride it…
Last Friday we staged the inaugural duomedia Social Media Debate to discuss just how social a business should be. This engrossing, highly interactive event was attended by editors, journalists, print industry consultants and duomedia customers.
Between us we identified the best path for companies wanting to exploit the huge potential of social media.
If you couldn’t be there don’t worry – below are the main points covered at the event.
Embrace social media
There was universal agreement that social media are here to stay, and should be central to any engagement strategy. Most companies are already on board, but some are still dragging their feet.
If you’re unsure how to make best use of social media, that’s fine – any decent PR or marketing agency will show you how.
But resisting social media is futile. These channels have made publishers of us all, and brought about the democratization of information. Quite simply, social media channels are too big an opportunity for any company to miss.
Get a social media strategy
Gene Hunt emphasised the need for a clear social media strategy.
Social media accounts take no time to set up, so it can be really tempting to post stuff on as many channels as possible. But this won’t do you any favours in the long run.
Spend some time thinking about how a social media campaign can support your broader objectives and how you can measure its success, or you won’t see the results you want.
Create a social media policy
Gene also underlined the need to establish a social media policy that details the company’s procedures for posting content.
You wouldn’t fire off a press release without it first going through the proper internal channels. The same goes with social media.
Take social media seriously
Stan Lemmens, stressed that social media is a crucial component of a communications programme – and should be treated at a such.
This means entrusting your social media output to a senior communications professional. It’s way too important to hand to someone learning the ropes.
In the social media world, an ambiguous statement or casual use of slang may well be genuine mistakes, but they can bring a lot of flak to your door.
Choose your channels wisely
Catherine Carter and Debbie Ward from Print Business highlighted the importance of using the right platform for the right message at the right time.
For example, Facebook is like a shop-front you can fill with engaging images and videos; LinkedIn is a more professional platform where you can hook up with like-minded groups; while Twitter is your up-to-the-minute message board where you can update your community.
Each platform may be part of the same engagement strategy, but they require a different approach.
Gareth Ward, editor of Print Business, spoke wisely of the need to use common sense when using social media channels.
The perceived informality of social media has prompted some companies to really cut loose from the corporate jargon, which is certainly no bad thing. But there’s a line you shouldn’t cross.
So tread carefully – especially when using humour – and never risk coming across as rude. Social media channels are about engaging people, not enraging them.
Don’t post content just for the sake of it. Obviously, you need to post fairly regularly or your community won’t grow. But it’s equally important that you post content that’s worth sharing. Spare people the brain burps, otherwise you’ll quickly lose followers.
The great thing about social media is you can react to an issue as it breaks. And if you chip in quickly with well-considered comment, you can even help shape the story.
One attendee raised an important question about being fast out of the blocks: ‘How can you respond quickly when you have to go through layers of approval first?’.
Mike Horsten from Mimaki Europe, replied that it’s possible to react fast while staying within your company’s posting guidelines. He explained that at Mimaki, two people tweet so they can react to issues quickly while also ensuring content is checked for its appropriateness.
Know your facts
Ed Boogaard noted that while social media facilitate rapid responses to industry issues, it’s important to maintain integrity and post content you know is accurate.
Ed was recently questioned by a follower on Twitter why he hadn’t responded to an industry rumour. He said that he didn’t want to comment on a rumour that he believed could be untrue.
Don’t lose momentum
Catherine Carter commented on how many companies use social media to create a buzz before and during an event – but then make the mistake of ditching social media activity when the event’s over.
This is a missed opportunity. If people are following you before and during the event, they’ll likely be receptive to any follow-up activity (again, as long as it’s relevant).
See some pictures taken during the debate and Xmas event on our Facebook page: