#7Steps to Grow Corporate Social Media Programs

Yesterday, Michael Bepko, Patti Shea and I had the pleasure of talking leading a session for the American Marketing Association on "7 Ways to Grow Your Social Programs".

Bolstered with examples, experiences and lessons learned from Whole Foods, AARP and Spredfast, we discussed:

1. Gaining insight about your social customers

2. Adopting social media company wide

3. Operationalizing social

4. Embracing and using great content

5. Creating compelling and creative customer experiences

6. Integration of social with other channels and systems

7. Showing an impact of social efforts

The slides for the session are up on SlideShare and posted below, and you can follow the #7Steps hashtag for the full recap.

Lots of relevant points and questions were brought up by attendees, so rather than an overview of all session material, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight and answer some of these questions and continue the discussion here.

Examples of social media policies for your companies to see and use.

Many publicly available social media policies exist online. Recently, Jeremiah Owyang shared a couple of his favorite examples in a webinar calling out Intel and Yahoo as companies who post these openly. I also shared a few other examples in a post on Operationalizing Social earlier this year, with actual examples and links to resources that help you create a personal version for your company.

Lots of people asked about creating multiple social presences. Is it important? Are you missing customers if you segment presences?

Segmenting social accounts (Whole Foods vs Whole Foods ATX) can be a powerful strategy. Similar to consumers searching for specific products online, looking for info about a specific department"™s help or only wanting local offerings, the key is knowing how your customers are best served and want to consume information/ interact. No, this is not right for everyone. But if you have different products and locations or have teams that serve different business objectives (Sales vs Social Care) this is something you should consider.

How do companies gain followers and promote social presences?

The first way to gain followers is providing value in the content you create. Using the "if you build it they will come" mentality doesn"™t work. Beyond content and interesting interactions, integrating social presences and promoting them across entities like websites, collateral, email, etc., will help attract new followers. From there, companies are increasingly using paid promotion options like Facebook Promoted Content to ensure the most people possible are seeing and being introduced to their content and accounts.

How do companies let go of the reins, to the wild, wild social media west?

Executive buy in is crucial. Policies that help protect the brand and its employees are next. And ongoing training and guidance help create opportunities to enable teams going forward is imperative. 

Any good resources for how to plan content? To repurpose content? And using Editorial Calendars?

There are lots of resources and documents with ideas on content strategy. Rebecca Lieb of the Altimeter Group just wrote a fantastic book on Content Marketing. I"™d also suggest flipping through the Social Media Pocket Guide and a webinar Jason Falls, Ellen Westcott and the Social Distillery presented on Creating and Using Great Social Content. 

What about the newest report about engagement on Facebook being down since Timeline was implemented?

The report shows that Facebook engagement on Applications is down. This means it"™s more important than ever to create compelling content that engages Fans on your actual page so it shows up in their newsfeed and is shared more widely. This move simply shifts the mindset that you can force someone to automatically land on a Tab, which essentially created a social landing page.

How do you gather insights on audiences across different social platforms?

This is where technology like a Social Media Management system comes in. You can get some insights from the platforms themselves, but an SMMS (yes, like Spredfast) will pull all of this together in one place and offer expanded views and analysis.

Since there aren't "borders" in social media, how do you handle offers and promotions that aren't available everywhere?

Luckily, there are a couple ways to approach this. One is segmented social presences. If you have an account for Brand XYZ New York area, posting specific promos for NY are much easier and clearly defined. The second option is with using geotargeting options. You can target ads and promoted content, but you can also leverage advanced options using SMMS systems to target posts to only appear in selected geographies.

Is using #Hashtags good?

Hashtags have two useful purposes. One is creating a tag relevant to your audience they can follow to get updates on the topics they care most about. The second is many already exist that you can incorporate into posts to ensure you appear in relevant, existing conversations. #Socbiz is a great example for people interested in social business. 

How many posts a day should you make? 

There is no "one size fits all" answer. It goes back to how hungry and open your audience is to getting new information and engaging with you. Tracking behavior patterns (does engagement drop when you make more than 2 FB updates or 10 Tweets a day?) is imperative. It goes back to knowing and tracking audience.

Thanks to everyone who attended and added to the conversation. If we missed your question or you have something to add to any of the points above, share here in the comments and help us keep the conversation going!