There has never been a more critical time for businesses to take part in social media, but taking the leap from being a closed-off brick and mortar business to becoming a social presence online can be daunting. Getting social media right is not as easy as it seems, many businesses struggle to cope with the complexities of interaction via social media or even the sheer number of social networking platforms out there. After attending IBM’s Connect 2012 conference, Information Week listed a number of ways in which companies can take the first steps towards transforming their business into a social enterprise. Here are some of the main points to take into account before taking your business to the social side.
Focus on social media
Commitment is key when making the decision to take your brand into the social spheres. Social media requires constant maintenance and monitoring by people who not only understand the brand, but your followers and what they require. Delegating the management of social media to a random person within your company is never a good idea – social media in the wrong hands can cause PR disasters that may not be easy to recover from.
With that said, it’s also important to remember that disasters (big or small) are bound to happen. It’s best to acknowledge the risks of becoming an open enterprise and prepare in whatever way your company can. Have support, including legal and security at your disposal, even if it is ‘just in case’.
Another good way of minimising risk could be to roll out your social networking in stages, perhaps starting in a company group. Starting small gives you the opportunity to smooth out any kinks that pop up and gives your company a chance to plan strategies based on the trial experience.
The risk associated with social media can seem unnerving, which is why companies should seriously consider recruiting an agency to effectively manage some or all of their social media. When digital agencies work alongside companies – instead of just for them – great social media success can be achieved.
Think technology and beyond
Social networking and technology are bound together, but they are not one and the same. The focus of your social networking strategies should always be your followers and fans – who are actually real people and real customers. However, in order to effectively use social media there should be a thorough understanding of technology and how it can be used to make social networking run smoothly.
One of the most important aspects to consider is mobile technology. Recent figures show that mobile social networking is on the rise with more and more people gaining access to devices such as smart phones and tablets. Making your brand’s social media elements mobile-friendly could hold many rewards in the future.
Another point raised by Information Week is to always question your speed. That is to say, the speed at which your company is adjusting in order to keep up with the ever-changing times and trends. Social media is one of the most dynamic features of the online world, changing along with it and keeping up with your consumers is essential for taking your brand into the social world.