Thursday, February 10, 2011

11 ways we can tell you don't have a social-media strategy

It's okay--you don't need to confess that you don't have a plan for social media. We can tell by your actions, content and approach. Are you being transparent...unintentionally? Here are 11 clues to evaluate your not-so-structured approach. I could have gone on, but why don't you help me finish this list and add a comment: What tips you off to the absence of a social-media strategy?
  1. You take things down in a crisis. Posts, entire pages, or admins disappear the moment negative comments appear, rather than answering the comments--or just letting them stand. Pulling the plug tells us you didn't anticipate and plan for a view other than your own.
  2. You leave things on auto-pilot during a crisis.  If you preschedule posts--and why not?--be sure your crisis communications plan includes a step to stop the auto-posts, or you'll look oddly out of touch to your users and others.
  3. You take things down because they aren't ready.  Rather than let the typo stand or the missing picture go missing, you're editing by deletion. Try taking the time to get it right before you post.
  4. You take things down because you made an error. While the consensus on how to correct posts is still being discussed with every crisis and accompanying mistake, the latest thinking is to leave the erroneous post up, but to include it in a later corrected post, as soon as possible.  And for garden-variety errors, well, face it: They happen to us all. No need to delete for that errant typo.
  5. You're missing from an important conversation on your topic.  Are you understaffed? Not monitoring? Trying to stay out of it? We can't tell.
  6. You're posting even when you have nothing to say.  A downside of delegating all your social-media posting to the youngest team members: It sometimes results in posts like "Whoo-hoo! It's Wednesday and we need to post something" or "Here's a picture of a kitten because everyone likes them." Be sure the standards for posts are clear--and don't post if there's no content.
  7. You're all push and no pull.  If we don't see @ replies or conversations, responses to questions or other signs of life (other than auto-posts), it's clear you haven't thought through the "social" part.
  8. You get defensive.  You're out there in social media--really out there. So have a plan for what you'll do and how you'll respond when criticism comes up. Getting defensive looks automatic and unplanned.
  9. You're nameless. If everyone's blogging as your company's name, or as "admin," and no one who's posting has a bio or background story I can find, you're wasting a major opportunity to engage your users and customers (and perhaps frustrating the curious).
  10. You haven't updated your status in more than a week.  Far from worrying about posting too much, you have the opposite problem--one that can be solved with a calendar for content.
  11. The photos on your site don't fit the season.  Timeliness can be measured in more than words. Do your visuals take advantage of the season? Photos of a sunny day don't convey as much as photos of your headquarters in the blizzard, when it's winter. Get real with those visuals.
Keep the list going in the comments--I'm looking forward to learning what you have noticed.

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