Social media managers are becoming an ever important role amongst the business community. In a smaller organisation it might be an added duty for a delegated employee(s), quite often in the marketing or sales area or even the business owner if it suits. Larger companies more often now recruit specifically for the role, in many large corporations you’ll generally find there’s a team in place managing everything from facebook and twitter to forums and blogs.
As social media is a communications channel first and foremost, it’s the public face of the company every day of the year. It’s therefore crucial that those at the front-line are briefed on everything of importance within the company and of course anything that’s available in the public domain.
So in this post we’ve put together a list of ten things you need to communicate with your social media manager on so that they can effectively manage your reputation in the public eye.
1. Product information – sounds obvious but ensure that those who are working with you are familiar with what you’re selling. If you’ve got 20,000 items they may not have access to each individually but they should have a contact within the organisation who can tell them quickly if a requested product is available so that they can effectively deal with a query. They should also be kept aware of new products, always something to tell the world about so images, price and anything else relevant will be welcome.
2. Sales or discounts – it’s a slow week and you suddenly decide to knock 20% off everything on the web and in-store to generate activity. Your social media person needs to know the detail so they can communicate this news in a timely manner to your community.
3. PR – this can be quite hit and miss, you’re reliant on the goodwill of a media outlet and often it’s the product/offer or even the business itself that’s the most newsworthy item. If however you engage somebody to manage your PR or choose to distribute information directly to the media, please send a copy to your social media team. It’s not their place to intervene but they should be aware of anything that could be asked of them (or who the designated contact is for the media) and they can very effectively share your news too. Ideally you’ll share with us any mentions in the media for your business you become aware of, we’ll happily spread the word if it’s appropriate!
4. In-store events – wonderful material for social media, these often aren’t always used to maximum effect through social media channels. When you’re at the planning stages involve your social media person, they’ll work with you on targetting a specific sector if it’s not invite only. If you’ve got tickets to give away we’ll ensure we run any promotions in a manner that complies with terms of service for the various social media platforms. And even if your event is a select gathering for preferred customers only, there’s bound to be an angle that works for you on the web. And be sure to take plenty of photos for us to share too.
5. Important industry news – if an industry or government body make a change in something that is likely to impact your customers your social media person should know about it. Ideally they would have a link to the facts if they’re outside of your control along with the company line if appropriate. It’s also worth noting that changes in the marketplace should be passed on too, your social media person is not going to suggest customers now go buy off you as company X has ceased trading, they can however prove a very valuable source of information for you.
6. Offline promotions – if you’re selling through the web and through a store(s) you may well have different offers available through each channel. In most cases if you’re updating your community online you’ll probably be sharing links to online offers. If however something isn’t available online e.g. a meal at a restaurant, we need to know the details too. We won’t necessarily need every little detail but but we would need to know the early-bird price, any major changes to the menu and details of any entertainment you might offer.
7. Preferred brands / suppliers – depending on the business you may or may not have a selection of other businesses that you work closely with and it doesn’t hurt to share a little of this information with your social media manager. We’re not after your trade secrets but the very nature of twitter for example can lead us to conversation with your suppliers so it can be good to know where your allegiances lie.
8. Competitors – if somebody is managing your social media they like to know what’s happening elsewhere so please, share with your social media manager those who you consider competition. You’re in the business after all and even if some of your competitors are quite obvious, there’s always a couple a little below the radar that we won’t necessarily know about.
9. Contact information – who does your social media manager contact in the event of a query, or worse an emergency? Generally speaking most people appreciate that businesses have specific trading hours and wouldn’t expect that you can get the information they need outside of office hours. If however you’re managing social media for a travel company and your client has resorted to facebook in desperation to get a message through on a missed flight or medical mishap, you do need that emergency contact who is available outside of office hours.
10. Breaking news – most of us will monitor the market place, use google alerts and keep an eye on relevant pages when we’re managing your social media. However, if you’re in the industry and get wind of something that could become a news story be sure to tell us as quickly as possible. We’re not competing with the media to get the news out there first but if it’s likely to come up in discussion it’s best that we at least have the chance to ensure that we know what the company line is and to keep an eye on what’s happening on the web.
Whether businesses like it or not, social media is where people readily turn to when they want to voice their frustrations – and the viral impact when something goes wrong can never be underestimated. Keep the lines of communication open, have a list of do’s and don’ts and be guided by them if they suggest that the post you really really want to share might backfire – they’ve seen the good, the bad and the downright unexpected!
Social media is the 24/7 face of the company, protect your reputation by staying on top of it.
If you’d like to talk to The Marketing Shop about a package for managing your social media, pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your number and we’ll call you back to discuss.