I would have to admit to being more than a little alarmed recently when a colleague and executive of another area within our business gave a small insight into his view on what it would take to take their Social Media engagement to the next level. To set the scene, the conversation was sparked by informing him that we had set up his requested social media accounts. What ensued was a genuine statement that they were not taking social media seriously, didn’t understand it and had no idea of what they wanted to do about it. In short, there is no strategy I am sure you will all yell.
So at the request of our internal customer, we established the following:
- 6 Facebook pages relating to the business locations complete with content.
- Pinterest account to be shared across all.
- Twitter account to be shared across all.
- Instagram account to provide photo content.
- YouTube videos for each location, along with additional footage found and linked.
As an enterprise, we also use Hootsuite to engage our audiences and Radian6 to do our social listening and reporting. The exercise was really about setting up the necessary platforms for the business to use and engage their audience. The business area is in the hospitality industry, which is seeing a lot of engagement in social media these days and is largely considered an essential part of any strategy.
So here goes the conversation:
Me: So we have set up all the accounts, and enabled the social media platforms for you to start your engagements. We’ve enabled reporting tools and set up some basic ones for you to start getting your head around. You need to get your people on to creating valuable content, engaging content and stuff that your audience would like to read and see what sort of conversations you can spark. You need to think about the conversations that you want your audience to have and how you can encourage that.
Other: Ok, I’ll have a look at them all and discuss with the team what sort of things we should put up.
Me: You have already started to get a lot of people likeing the pages in this first day, its appealing visually, but you should look to build on it and get people talking.
Other: Ok I think I have someone that can put a couple of hours into it.
Me: Yep, but more seriously, you should consider your next business plan and some resources towards doing this in order to drive it forward. I’d suggest at least one person, perhaps two if you get them creating content across the website sections for your resorts as well.
Other: OK, now you are scaring me. I was thinking at best this is about 10-20% of a FTE (Full Time Employee).
Me: Oh goodness now, now you are scaring me. To be even active your content should include around 2-4 posts of something interesting for each page a day, a few tweets a day and images across each. There alone is around 30 to 40 messages, corresponding images and content for your social pages. This doesn’t take in to account the readiness to respond to people that are seeking your engagement.
Other: Well I think we have a problem, because my intention was to have one person doing it for each resort across the country as well as managing content and this should only be about 50% of their time during the busiest moments.
And therein lies the problem. Too many managers today are wanting to do social media, they have been to the seminar, they have seen Facebook pages and twitter and their executive is asking that they have social media in their plans. There is no strategy for engagement, no strategy for the messages, the type of communication and what they want to drive. Its like calling a group of people to a meeting and then asking what we should talk about, and be quick about it because there are other meetings to get to and this one is in the way.
An organisation needs to consider the strategy of what they are doing. Serious time and investment must be put into doing this, what you want to do and how you want to do it. What are the goals, what do you see as success, how do you want to engage the audience, what type of information do you want to put up, what discussions do you want to have are all serious questions. I have no problem with learning along the way, and trying some things out. But even if you start with the above, its essential that you put on some skates and get moving with the hard work into what you want to do in this space while you are doing it.
I can not think of a better way to set up for a massive #fail in thier social engagement. I know that many digital natives will realise the obvious, this is practice before strategy, but I think it is more important that we push back on examples like this and strive for the strategy, intent and ideas to come forward at the same time or organisations like this will be on the next year’s #fail list for 2013.