Who should look after your company’s social media?

Social media for business

So, you’ve made the decision that your company should get on the social media bandwagon. You’ve even decided which networks you think would be best for reaching your target market. You may even have an idea of the sort of content you’d like to share. That’s fantastic. Welcome aboard!

Quick question – who in your company is going to be responsible for looking after your company’s social media presence?

Any ideas? You? The company marketing person (if you have one)? The receptionist? The office junior who has a Twitter account and knows their way around it?

Who?

This is probably the most important question you will need to ask yourself when starting on your company’s social media journey. Before you decide who it is going to be, then think about the following, and then come back and tell me if it’s the same person you thought of a minute ago.

1)      Your social media is the face of your company. It could be the first thing that prospective customers encounter. It could be the first place they turn when they need help with one of your products. It could be the place someone goes to when they’re thinking of working for your company. Your social media needs to accurately reflect what you do and project the right impression to a range of different people with diverse needs all at the same time. Is the person in charge the right person to project these differing but complementary images?

2)      Your social media content will be judged on its presentation. Some of the best company social media feeds I’ve seen are clearly done by the company itself and have some wonderful insights into the company’s personality, but often are let down by poor spelling and grammar. Yes, many people won’t notice but a lot of people do, and badly spelt tweets, or poorly constructed Facebook updates (or worse, a custom graphic with an obvious error) will turn too many people off, reduce your engagement, and get you a reputation for not being very intelligent. Can the person in charge of your social media feeds spell? Do they know they difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, and ‘there’ and ‘their’? If not, you need to consider the damage that can be done.

3)      Social media can be an excellent customer service channel. It can be the first point of call for disgruntled customers, or delighted ones. Will the person in charge of your social media be able to react appropriately to these interactions? Do they know the answers to common questions, and know where to go for the answers to more unusual ones?

4)      Social media management requires a lot of technical skills. You need to be able to tell when you’re replying to interaction publically or privately. You need to know the difference between a status update and publishing a post on LinkedIn. You need to be able to respond to a tweet without looking like you have no clue what you are doing. You need to know the limits imposed by the social networks to stop your accounts getting put in Twitter jail, or banned altogether. Does the person you are putting in charge of your social media understand all the technical ins and outs, or are at least willing and able to learn?

5)      Social media is just that – social. You need someone who can interact with others in a friendly and appropriate manner. You need someone who isn’t afraid to engage with potential customers and suppliers without treading on virtual toes. Putting your most technically adept person in charge is great if they can also get stuck in and get out there on your company’s behalf. Of course, they will need your instruction and permission to do this, but if they’re unable to find the confidence to get out there, then competent technical skills will only get you so far.

In short, social media is a holistic operation and needs someone with the technical skills, the social skills, and an all-round knowledge of your business and what you do. Finding one person in your company could be easy. It could also be very tricky, and you may need to come up with a plan which uses more than one person working together.

Social media does not have to necessitate a full-time job for anyone, particularly if you are a smaller company. Only very large companies tend to have a full-time social media manager. In medium sized companies, social media tends to fall under the umbrella of the marketing department, and in smaller companies, then it can be down to one multi-skilled individual.

If you as a company owner or manager feel that social media is something you’d like to look after yourself, then that is fantastic. You are probably the person in the company that ticks all of the above, and any technical skills you may be lacking you can learn.

My approach to social media management is to work with the company on producing content as a team effort. I can provide the creative input, suggest good content to share, check everything for spelling and grammar, produce custom graphics, follow the right people in the hope of building an audience, respond to simple and common queries, and search regularly for things to interact with and new people to follow. This leaves room for the company to supplement what I do with more timely content and retweeting, and to answer the higher-level queries that are occasionally thrown their way. Even as a ‘bolt on’ social media management service, the team approach is still the best one and the one which produces the best results for my clients, no matter what industry they operate in.

So, is the person you originally had in mind still the same person? Maybe they are the same person but now working with someone else. Maybe it’s a different person altogether. Whatever you decide, please make it a good one because social media done well often goes un-noticed, but social media done badly can be a PR disaster.