Those who currently maintain the marketing and communications responsibilities may be the best port of call initially. They have your brand and marketing direction as their primary focus, are often technically aware, already manage the website updates and email communications – so the social media platforms should align nicely. The greatest requirement to maintaining a successful engagement is time so this should be allocated not just added on to an existing workload without proper consideration.
Now is a good time to set the parameters of the engagement and some measurable outcomes to be sure that everyone’s expectations are able to be reviewed and qualified. It may also be the ideal time to initiate a formal Social Media policy so everyone within the company doesn’t get the wrong idea of what acceptable use of the online medium is, and get a better understanding of who is responsible for what, when and why. Remember you are using the web as a serious business tool, not to entertain staff and fill in time.
This is a good time to consider engagement of some external assistance to help you with your planning and possibly implementation process. The opportunity is to get some independent and impartial advice and expertise free from any emotional or political connection to your business.
Social Media consultants seem to be popping up with increasing frequency so trying to qualify their “expert” status let alone what value they will bring to the table can be difficult. While having thousands of friends on Facebook and approaching “whale” status on Twitter (10,000 followers) does demonstrate a high level of commitment to Social Media it doesn’t demonstrate any businesses development experience or acumen.
As with any advisor look for experience in your sector, testimonials and recommendations that you can authenticate and importantly a person that shares your values and goals that you can get along with and trust. Always keep in mind that it’s your business, Social Media is a method of communication and engagement that must be honestly representative of that.
Whatever the decision, be sure your Social Media portfolio manager is a good communicator, is mature enough to understand that what they say can have long term ramifications to the business image, and are responsible enough to ensure that your brand and its values are understood, respected and maintained to the highest standard at all times.