As I observed a client drift aimlessly from ‘Social Media Manager’ to ‘Social Media Manager’, constantly unhappy with her Return On Investment (ROI), a couple of things dawned on me.
Firstly, like a lot of business owners, she wasn’t entirely clear on what she wanted out of her social media marketing – or anything much to do with her digital marketing or inbound marketing strategies – aside from ‘increasing sales’. It stood to reason of course: her specialty wasn’t in social media marketing. It wasn’t in inbound or content driven marketing, nor any form of digital marketing at all. Her speciality was in the services her business provided. The second thing that dawned on me was… her brand appeared to be suffering a distinct form of dissociative identity disorder.
Of course, the first is a critical part of any social media strategy: having a purpose more profound than‘because everyone else is’ is crucial to reaping meaningful social media results. But let’s begin with the second because, frankly, it’s vague and often misdiagnosed!
An experienced business owner, her Social Media Managers had been carefully handpicked out of a line-up of experienced and no doubt wonderful Social Media Managers; researched, referenced, their start date highly anticipated. Each Social Media Manager’s first day would be met with that anticipated excitement, a large computer screen proudly positioned on their desk, direction provided on where to find (at least some of) their existing social media log-ins, a pat on the back, and an encouraging, “Off you go then!”. But was that enough?
It wasn’t. Each of her Social Media Managers were set up to disappoint: no fault of their own. The problem started at ‘the sharpening of the axe‘. Without a ‘brand handover’ or a set of social media goals, and a lack of time to deliver any, it was left to each individual Social Media Manager to decide her brand’s social media goals, framework, strategies… even the online personality of the brand!
Without the attention and direction of key stakeholders within the business, the business’ online brand simply mutated into the personality of the person who was now managing their social media marketing. A personality that would naturally be very different to the previous Social Media Manager.
Looking back over this client’s social media posts and activity, you can actually define the point when the changeovers occurred. Posts drop to nothing, then randomly increase across varying channels in different frequency to past posts, post content is vastly different, and even community management responses are at odds with previous replies.
Your brand and your values are an important part of your business and require reflection and consistency in message across your online marketing strategies and social media activities. Developing a valuable social media strategy requires more than the time it takes you to hire (or re-hire!) a Social Media Manager. You need to be clear on what outcomes you’re looking for – and if you’re not, you need to be able to put some time aside to create your social media goals, framework and strategies – and you need to be able to clearly lay them out to your new Social Media Manager.
As good intentioned as they are, are you comfortable leaving your online brand to be determined by the ideals, beliefs and personality of your brand new Social Media Manager without any prior direction? Why not have a look at your social media activity over the last quarter. What personality has your Social Media Manager given your brand?