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Articulating *your* message using Social Technology...

How to Co-ordinate your Social Media

Whether or not your organisation has committed to Social Media, you can be sure Social Media has committed to you! Your customers are already engaging you on Social Media and if you aren’t responsive it sends out a loud message about your commitment to your customers.

Investment in Social Media is growing rapidly, organisations however, don’t think they can see the true value of those efforts yet.

One of the reasons for this, is that marketers are not operationalising Social Media properly - and perhaps more importantly there is limited alignment of Social Media activity with the overall Business Strategy. Until you align your campaigns in this way, it isn’t clear what you should measure and there’s no way to prove value back to the business.

So how do you co-ordinate your social media to align to business strategy, then measure it and operationalise it?

Altimeter has reported that in the average organization, 13 different departments are involved in Social initiatives. The key takeaway? You must organise.

There are two ways to do this depending on what resources you have at your disposal, and some organizations will find a combination of the two works best.

Basic: Steering Committee - a good option for companies unable to commit dedicated resources to social media is to implement a cross department steering committee. By convening regular (ideally weekly), compulsory meetings of representatives of all the departments that touch Social Media - typically: Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, PR & Communications, and Legal - you begin to ensure the right hand is talking to the left hand. This means the customer experience will begin to feel more consistent across all touchpoints. What the team learns about their brand through the voice of their customers on Social Media will define the way forward. They can agree on common objectives and assign goals and KPIs. This gives the organisation a direction for Social Media efforts and shared benefits.

Advanced: Dedicated Team - depending on maturity, levels of understanding and available resources, the best way to tackle Social Media is by having a dedicated team. By tasking and goaling a team of between two and four dedicated and experienced professionals, Social Media maturation will be very rapid. These operators will know how to integrate the different departments and operations in a way that is effective. Equally, they will understand how to report back the value - so critical in bringing the organisation along the journey willingly and adding themselves to the growing list of organizations that feel Social Media is a critical enabler of products and services.

Social Media teams are quickly evolving from 'doers' to 'enablers'.

Adoption of automation tools is lagging somewhat because knowledge of how to efficiently organise Social Media is only in early stages. Once some personnel structure is in place, the role of software tools in operationalising Social Media becomes clearer.

Very quickly effective Social Media strategy and execution can stop being an aspiration and become a well oiled machine.