Companies often agonize over how to use social media. The process can get fairly drawn out but at the end of the day there are only three options available to companies.
Strategy 1: Company Communications
Doing a company approach to social media is really about setting up social media channels that get fed company communications. Any information that the company sends publically should find its way onto every social media channel. This is an easier strategy to put in place because all social media platforms can get linked through an email platform or social media management tool like hoot suite. Simply put, it takes less time to manage this process. It also comes with less risk as central employees or contractors can be used to distribute and manage the information. So the pros are that it takes less time and closely manages the company message. The down side is that very little one-to-one interaction is available which limits powerful brand or marketing capabilities.
Strategy 2: Employee/Individual Communications
Every company is made of individual(s). This strategy leverages that group of people with the ability to personally interact as representatives of the company. The benefit here is that, as a group, interactions will be more frequent and personalized which can create a strong bond to the social media audience. True one-to-one interaction is feasible. The down side is that those interactions happen in real time and there is a risk of problems being presented on a public forum. There is also a risk of wasted time as individuals can get drawn into social interactions that provide little value to the company. Centralized control becomes almost impossible and presenting a unified message is often a challenge.
Strategy 3: Hybrid Style
It’s possible to create a hybrid strategy where company communications are distributed across social media channels but individuals also have access to interact with the social media audience. This provides the pros of a centralized message mixed with personal interaction but also all the risks of less control and more time dedicated to the social media channel. The added problem is that sometimes company communications can disrupt the personal interactions as the company communications are sent on a schedule rather than real time.
There is no right answer to social media strategy. It’s more of deciding what fits for your company. Some important things to consider is manpower to dedicate to social media, risks involved with personal interactions, and time invested in managing the channels. The answers to these questions will help you narrow in on the strategy that works for your company. Once you choose a strategy, it’s important that all parties involved with the social media channels understand the goal. Once the goal is clear then it’s easier to dedicate the resources necessary but not waste time on low return activities.