When an organization decides to utilize social media, the potential rewards and risks are both quite high. If successful, the firm can significantly improve its relationship with clients, customers and members, develop a reputation for good service and attract the attention of people who would otherwise never have known about the organization. If unsuccessful, however, the firm can develop a negative reputation and potentially alienate the very people it would like to attract.
There are many elements to a successful social media strategy. Writing for the Huffington Post, Steve Nicholls recently asserted that one of the keys to developing an effective social media plan is to focus on creating the right conditions within the organization.
According to Nicholls, a critical component of creating these conditions is developing a clear vision for the intended role of social media within the organization. While many executives, managers and other decision-makers understand conceptually the importance of social media, far fewer truly understand how it can be leveraged to serve their organization. Without a clear goal and vision for the proper use of social media, however, it is unlikely that an organization will be able to make the most of these channels.
The organization's leaders should therefore take the time and conduct the research necessary to determine how social media can serve them. Should the goal be to increase customers or members? Or should the focus be on improving service to existing clients? Only by clearly answering these and other questions can a firm prepare itself to take advantage of social media.
Once the firm's goals are clearly set, it needs to develop a plan for achieving these objectives. Writing for 1to1 Media, Rodney Kuhn recently asserted that such a plan should involve the training of employees. While in all likelihood most workers will have personal experience with some social media channels, they are unlikely to have expertise with all of them. More importantly, there is a big difference between the way an individual and an organization should conduct itself on these channels.
Kuhn noted that if an organization does not adequately train its employees, they may become flummoxed and frustrated when attempting to help customers and members via social media. This can lead to dissatisfaction among employees and high turnover.
To make the most of social media, organizations should consider upgrading to an association management system featuring advanced, easy-to-use social customer relationship management (CRM) tools.