Social media for marketing and business — a best practices primer.

When your enterprise wades into the exciting, sometimes hectic and daunting world of social media, it’ll be good to have a set of policies in place that help guide your adaptation of social media.  So here’s a list of best practices for your organization that can help guide its understanding and implementation:

  1. DEFINE social media, how it relates to the organization and its objective, so leadership and employees all share a common understanding of how, when and where social media channels are engaged.
  2. DIFFERENTIATE between business and personal social media usages; leave as little grey area as possible in terms of expectations of how employees use these channels.  Whether you’re going to be liberal or restrictive in those expectations, make sure you determine what’s acceptable to the company.
  3. AUTHORIZE who’s in charge of social media — marketing?  PR?  Does it require C-level attention?  Who sets up these accounts?  Who posts — and who doesn’t?  Who manages any negative escalations or other issues that may occur?
  4. ASSIGN ACCOUNTABILITY: if social media is a tool, make sure it’s getting the attention this initiative absolutely requires by making sure it’s part of your accountability structure.  It shouldn’t be something that’s done in “spare time,” or when other “more important” tasks are off employee’s desks.    To do social media right, it needs consistency, imagination and hard work…and needs to be viewed as being just as important as other facets of your business.
  5. PLAN AND REVIEW — set mileposts, goals, calendars, analytics and review processes in place, just as you would for any other business process.  Social media, in the context of business, is a business instrument, and needs to be managed accordingly.  And with the right approach and diligence, it’s totally quantifiable.
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