These days just about everyone – from your teenage daughter to your grandmother – is on social media. They think that posting photos to Facebook or messages on Twitter makes them an expert. But, it’s a totally different scenario when you are talking about managing social media for your business.
You would not hand over the keys to your office to someone who you just hired and whom you know nothing about. Why would you hand over your usernames and passwords and let them “have a go” at handling your company’s social media? Yet, it does happen.
Your company’s social media is its calling card. It presents its image or brand. Handing over your company’s social media responsibilities to someone who was not hired specifically to handle social media can (and often times has for many companies) become a recipe for disaster.
First and foremost, the person who you put in charge of your social media needs to understand your business and how you want it to be represented to the public. They need to know what products or services you provide, who your target audience is, who your competition is and how you want to deal with those who engage with your company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
I had a client once ask me whether they should hire an intern who was studying public relations/social media. It seemed like a win-win to the client – he got free help and the intern got experience. That’s fine, so long as this person is working under someone who is handling your social media. But giving an intern (even one who appears very mature and responsible) free range over your social media is like giving the keys to your new car to your teen who just got his newly minted driver’s license.
The person who you put in charge should be a trained communications professional who has a mix of experience and knowledge. They need to be able to respond quickly and appropriately in the event someone posts something negative about you or your company online. They need to have a grasp of marketing and the ability to clearly communicate your company’s message.
You spent a lot of time, money and energy building up your company, you don’t want it to come crashing down because you failed to put the right people in charge of your social media efforts.
In today’s business world social media isn’t an option, it’s a necessity, but it also must be done right.
One final thought: Even after you hire the right person, it’s imperative that you keep tabs on what they are doing. Check in once (more in the beginning of the relationship) to see what is being posted. Ask yourself, is this the message we want to be out there? Does the person I hired understand what my company is all about? Are we responding promptly and appropriately to customer reviews/compliments/complaints?
Like public relations, social media requires a client’s input, you can’t just hand it off, walk away and hope for the best.
Susan R. Miller is founder of Garton-Miller Media, a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Susan is a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience. She has written for local, state and national publications. Her clients include attorneys, non-profit organizations and healthcare professionals.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.