Wednesday, November 16, 2011

7 ways to prevent Social Media Fails

There are many ways that a campaign, account, video, update, link, article, post, advert, small business or company can experience a social media #fail online.

Here are 7 approaches to help you and hopefully prevent your brand or business from experiencing a social media fail:

1. Social Media should be considered holistic
When setting up accounts/profiles, your social media should be consistent and in alignment with your business/company's policies and practices. 
Social media combines advertising, marketing, PR, writing, customer service and communications - approaching social media hoistically will be extremely rewarding.

2. Develop a 3/4 month social media marketing plan, this can be amended and adjusted accordingly. A plan throughout the year will help to set up your smm (social media marketing) strategy:

 -what is your message?
-what is your aim?
-who is your target market?
-what are your strategies?
-how much are you planning to spend on marketing and advertising (month by month)?
-which social media accounts and platforms you are going to use for your business and why?
-who is responsible for each account? 
-are you going to have an employee schedule?
-how will you monitor each account (or who)?
-what to focus on each month?
-do you have tech support?
-are you going to outsource,writers, designers, PR companies

I signed up for free and received marketing templates from VATrainingOnline, to start planning for 2012 - they are free, colourful and easy to use and share.

3. Every person, business and company should have a social media policy in place. The Department of Justice, Victoria has designed a policy and a video for their employees
A policy defines your code of conduct, your business practices, your responsibilities. 
You can protect your business and brand. 
Here is a free policy template that you can use to develop one of your own. 
Ideally, employees should read and sign the policy before using social media which represents their workplaces.

4. PR issues need to be discussed
Whether you hire a PR agency or you look at PR practices, knowing how to handle any crisis, having a crisis policy into place and knowing exactly how to act and deal with  a 'failure' will be extremely beneficial. 
Here are 10 steps to help recover from a 'fail'. 
Ogilvy has set up a slideshare on crisis management - don't overreact see a crisis as an opportunity.

5. Customer service, responding and monitoring is an essential part of social media
In fact, I think that customer service and social media go hand in hand.
People often use social media accounts to complain publicly and expect teams to handle them quickly and well. 
Most businesses/corporations need to align their customer service teams in the same way they handle email, telephone and written complaints and customer service training on social media should be an essential part of business practices.

Address the following:
Who will be handling enquiries and complaints?
What action will you take over weekends? 
Have you set up a feedback email or a number for complaints?
Have you set up alerts and notifications, so you can handle customer feedback in a reasonable time?
Here are 26 tips to add and implement customer service as part of your social media strategy.

6. Look at and learn from #fails online.
Read up about social media fails and take the oppurtunity to learn from them to:
Listen to people online.
Set up alerts and notifications.
Monitor your accounts.
Track your brand and business online.
Respond to questions, feedback, complaints and enquiries (within reason).
Understand the terms and conditions of each social media account.

7. Consider research as an essential part of your social media.
Read blogs, forums, reviews and if you can, thank people for their positivity (via email).
Build advocates around your business and your brand. 
Take time to read about your industry and be aware of what is happening in your industry, this will benefit your content, your understanding, your expertise and ensure that you know exactly what is happening day by day online.
Set up RSS feeds, read articles and blog posts.
Track your industry and watch what is happening on Twitter.