Alright, so it took me a while to come up with a “D” topic that I felt good about, but then out of nowhere it came to me, and I am amazed I did not think of this sooner. In social media, so much gives the impression of a lawless land where little guys can bring down big companies, and everyone has learned to threaten companies “if you don’t fix this, I’m taking it to social media” and it is easy to start to feel a bit of a power trip, especially as you grow in the number you are connected to. So more then ever, you need to have discipline.
I often joke that I lost the part of my brain that says “no don’t say that out loud” as I have a tendencies say things unfiltered, the reality is that I almost never say anything I have not calculated the value of saying first, I just deliver it in a fashion that seems very off the cuff, and yes sometimes it is for the shock value. Unfortunately many do speak first then think later. Beyond what you say in social media, the most effective people and brands go to great lengths to calculate what they are going to say, and when they are going to say it. They also keep an ear on their account to catch anything being said to them. This is an important discipline that many forget. Sure putting out messaging has value, but going to a networking event and doing nothing but speaking at others without listening comes across pretty self absorbed. I know we can all get excited when talking about ourselves, but practice listening twice as much as you speak…after all that is why God gave us two ears and one mouth. It is only by listening that we can find opportunities for engagement, which ultimately builds our audience, because it demonstrates the brand is willing to listen and talk, which goes far beyond talking at your followers.
People don’t plan to fail, but often fail to plan. Sit down and consider what are your goals for your social media, what are the mile markers and measurables you need to be on the look out for, by the way, number of followers is not a great metric to get hung up on. I have had to help companies who “purchased” followers only to discover that the followers they bought are not even in their market. This is where a strong understanding of metrics and how they apply to your business comes in handy, sometimes it is as easy as sales, but often there are other metrics that will spell out why you did not get your desired result, where measuring only sales just validates you missed the mark. Consider measuring conversions on your website from social traffic vs. PPC ads, maybe look at the average bounce rate on your social links. If you are sending traffic to your website, you are effectively getting people there, however a high bounce rate may indicate that your website is a letdown after you built it up. Each little measurement tells you important information, use it to measure success and to troubleshoot failure. (by the way, this is what we teach companies to do)
This past summer I worked with a company whose name I don’t share, because of several reasons, but I did get great stories from the experience. One such story really highlights the value of a disciplined approach to your social media. When Twitter released Vine one executive took it upon herself to shoot a company vine, and among the many shots, included a shot of her phone with over 200 voice mails. Needless to say I asked the executive, what do you think it says about a person who has 200 voicemails and brags about it, do you really think that is somthing potential customers want to see? As a company, you need to have military like control over your accounts, because simple slipups can cause incredible damage to your brand. I ended up leaving this client, because they brought me in to help repair their reputation, but did nothing to earn that repair. I had to realize you can’t help those who are not willing to help themselves, or worse yet, don’t care.
One way to avoid inappropriate content is to create a content or editorial calendar that spells out what messaging is going out each day, week and month. A simple way to start this practice is addressing the month ahead before it hits. Consider holidays, your sales cycle, promotions and anything else that is on the calendar, then craft an outline of what messaging you want to send out during the month, and when is the best time to deliver those messages.