You know how you’re driving along, GPS humming away in the background and then suddenly – standstill traffic that even Waze didn’t alert you to? My husband constantly “recalculates” our route in an attempt to avoid that. Similarly, it’s a good idea to “recalculate” your social media roadmap even when there aren’t signs of an imminent hazard on the road. You might think this post doesn’t pertain to you – your company is a Fortune 100, your brand is well-established and loved by consumers worldwide. But, the longer and more established your social media channels are, the more likely they are to need a refresh. Here are 5 telltale signs you should recalculate your social media roadmap:
1. Your brand has sub-brands and sub-channels with sub-sub microsites.
Yes, I know, your business model is complicated, but your content plan doesn’t have to be. There is definitely a need for major consumer brands to have their own channel and not rely on the parent company’s corporate brand, however, you don’t need to rollout a channel for each sub-sub division of your brand. If you have, you are likely struggling to keep all your channels current. Pull the plug on the sub-sub channels, focus on a main channel per brand and you’ll find if far less stressful to create fresh content every day. As recently as two years ago, the common wisdom was separate your channels so that audiences only receive the info from your brand that they’re most interested in, but what we’re starting to see now is brand dilution as a result of too many handles that are too narrowly focused. It’s a challenge to sunset handles, for sure, and not lose followers, but the real question is how ardent were the sub-sub-sub brand followers anyway? (One caveat to this approach is customer service, if your customers are used to contacting you on a handle other than your brand’s main handle for customer service questions, you certainly should leave that intact!) Whether you’ve acquired new brands or simply need to reign in too many handles for existing brands, there are some great tips here for consolidating digital assets the right way.
2. You rely solely on your company channel and eschew executive participation on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.
I remember when conventional wisdom was your brand should speak for itself, and individuals should not have opinions. I also remember a time when heads of state didn’t tweet ideas about policy (or sling insults)… But I’m old, and times change. Your employees – especially your executives – are your brand ambassadors and should be encouraged to, not prevented from, share company content and their own points of view on leadership themes. Guidance and tips are helpful, but trusting your leaders to share their thoughts also goes a long way to building a helpful symbiotic relationship for your respective departments and content. Do you know what it takes turn one of your executives into a LinkedIn Influencer? It’s not easy but could be very worth the challenge! Even if you don’t crack that nut, your leaders’ personal and professional networks are probably different than the official company channel followers, so cross-amplifying their content on your business channel, and brand content on your execs’ channels will cast a broader net, grow engagement and help you hit your targets.
3. Speaking of targets, you don’t have any.
Not having measurable targets for your social media channels is so 2007. I’m sure you have goals – but are they tied to the business strategy overall? The bottom line is just like any corporate expense, if you want your budget to grow you have to demonstrate just how effectively you’re running your channels and what the impact is on the business overall. Here’s a blog from Hootsuite on setting achievable social media goals.
4. You only ever post content promoting your brand.
Who are your followers? What do they like? What are they doing on International Ice Cream Day? If you don’t know, it’s time to rethink your strategy. The brands that kill it on social don’t just broadcast a one-way barrage of “key messages” – they interact with their customers and even with other brands, liking and sharing content that’s a little humorous, maybe even a tad irreverent. Brands – and companies – need to have personalities that are an embodiment of your brand promise, and engage in two-way conversations. And, what about causes? Definitely don’t go “pink-washing” everything this October, consumers aren’t going to fall for it. On the other hand, if you have an authentic relationship with a cause, don’t leave that out of your content plan – engage with influencers and leading researchers! Here are some tips from Entrepreneur.com about how to do it the right way.
5. You don’t have a library of images and videos, and don’t have the resources to produce any visual aids to support your content.
It is a serious miss to post content without visuals. Don’t have an inhouse design team waiting on your next assignment? No worries. Followers aren’t always looking for polished marketing content online, use your smart phone to capture environment shots, celebrate your employees, your culture, “bring your dog to work day” – whatever it is, it’s more engaging with images. Another plus of the less formal imagery is it helps underscore your brand’s transparency online. There’s some great data from Quick Sprout here, including that images outperform videos on Twitter. That’s something to think about as you recalculate your visual appeal…