Social Media platforms and applications continue to grow among the companies of regulated industries. Some, like Sanofi and Glaxo Smith Kline understand the benefits of customer engagement while not overselling to their customers. And as the ranks of the insured continues to grow, the insurance business is learning how a well defined social strategy can be an effective communication tool. One sees acceptance and incorporation among the banking and legal industries, as well.
Recommendations I made to clients include
1. Take your time and don’t assume that you need to have an immediate social presence. It will need to be well thought out and defined – what do you want to accomplish? promotion?, thought leadership?, sales?, client communication? Agree on your goals and remember social media is just one brick in your marketing wall and should be incorporated as such.
2. Remove any platforms that are not being kept current. I once had a client with 3 company Facebook pages, only one of which was being maintained, while the other two had unknown passwords. Content needs to stay fresh, or visitors won’t come back.
3. Social media is an excellent listening tool and should be incorporated as such. This is the first rule I stress when dealing with non-believers. The basics of Google Alerts and Twitter can be helpful in “hearing” what is being said about ones company, competition and marketplace and clients. Beginners should not worry about interacting and engaging just yet.
4. If it hasn’t been done already, educate your staff (including freelancers) with an easily understood corporate social media policy. It seems that every week there is a new example of employees speaking improperly about their company, industry and clients. Most people post, pin and tweet casually, outside of work. Opinions expressed in posts, photos and dialogues, proper or improperly, come easy in an informal environment. At work an employee needs to understand the formalities of expressing oneself online. A well defined corporate social policy should remind staff that they represent their employers 24/7.
Finally, don’t let all the buzz about social media overwhelm you. Yes, new applications appear at a dizzying rate, while the established ones continue to add new features. With some internal “social media ambassadors” or a good consultant, you will stay current and continue to adapt.