“The Nuts & Bolts of Social Media,” is the title of the series of video interview segments we're producing, beginning with the Chris Brogan interviews, and continuing on with some of our internal social media champions, and when possible, with customers. Look for future posts tagged "The Nuts and Bolts of Social Media."
Here is Deb Orton's discussion with Dave Thomas, the Social Media Manager at SAS, providing us with a behind-the-scenes look at how SAS has prepared for engaging in social media. What came out of this candid discussion is a good list of suggestions for companies looking for a starting point to engage in social media.
There are many great points that Dave makes, but here are the three that stood out for me:
- Set up a listening apparatus. The idea here is to hear what people are already saying before you start putting out your own messages. Yes, this may seem very basic, but it’s easy to forget and it's fundamentally important because it serves to remind that listening is as important as talking in social media, just as it is for face-to-face communications.
- Keep in mind what’s important to your business. Again, this may seem basic, but for that reason it may be easy to lose sight of. Engaging in social media should complement your existing means of communicating, and should not be undertaken as a stand-alone effort. Work it in to your existing marketing / communications strategy and your existing goals and objectives.
- Develop policies and guidelines for social media engagement. To develop them, engage a broad cross-section of departments in your company that includes both evangelists and skeptics so people in both camps can learn from each other. Make it a point to involve both H.R. and legal early in the process because they often can see hazards in situations that others cannot. Be sure the policies and guidelines are short, useful and practical, with plenty of both “Dos” and “Don’ts.”
Grab a pen and be ready to hit the pause button often because there are many good tips in this segment. My favorite quote is this: If you don't have a written policy in place, you have a de facto policy that says "do what you want."