10 Commandments for Social Media Success At the conclusion of Social Media Workshop for small enterprise and start-ups the most common question among excited and energized participants was ‘How do I take this to my organization?’. How do I champion Social Media for my product? Social Media campaigns are great tools for Marketing, PR, CRM, communication and community building. However, social media success is a function of intent, listening, participating and intelligence. I have worked on building social media campaigns for brands of all sizes and this post I share my learning. 1. Success starts at the Top Getting the top management involved is critical to success of Social Media Program. As the program champion you would require to pull in the best resources for the social media campaign ( from other functions) and you will need Top Management buy-in to get the resources. Top management involvement also ensures keeping the Social Media initiative in sync with company’s vision and goals. 2. Analyze and Select the Platform It is advisable to spread you resources and time across platforms to start. Adopt a equal mix of content (i.e. a blog or micro-blog), social networking (maybe Twitter or LinkedIn) , and community building (Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or YouTube). Over a period of time you could tweak the mix based on the experience and ROI on each platform. 3. Train to Listen, Comment and Create Content Social Media participation includes 3 activities: listening, commenting and creating content. Monitoring and reading your industry’s Blogs, FB posts, Tweets is a good launch pad. Google Alerts are efficient tools to listen to the ecosystem. The next step is to start commenting on social networks and blogs and creating your own content. Commit equal time to these activities. 4. Set Content Approach and Frequency On Social platforms it is important to be consistent in frequency and communication. Brainstorm and decide the pitch of your blog, Facebook/ Linked In Page and Tweets. To achieve maximum branding mileage the communication across the platforms should be integrated and synchronized. Plan the number of blogs you will publish every week, number of interaction on networking websites and tweets every day. 5. Content strategy Identify the best talents for the 3 platforms ( Blogs, Social Networking and Community Building). Writing content for these platforms requires varied skills and 1 person may not bring the necessary skills to the table. Also, develop a strategy to crowd source content. Encourage your customers, followers and other members of the audience to contribute. 6. Blogging / Micro Blogging Best Practices Develop an identity for your Blog. Identity comes with consistency, tone, and character of content. Blog posts should engage your audience. Substantiate you assumptions with data, analysis and point of view. Encourage audience response with questions and other tools. Schedule your blog calendar and write down 1-2 blog ideas daily. Quote industry authority and experts in your blog. Follow the trending topics for your tweets. Here’s a detailed post on Tweeting. 7. Social Networking Best Practices Depending on your target audience you could select a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn or both to network. LinkedIn usually is recommended for B2B businesses and Facebook for B2C. It helps to have members senior members of staff active on the networking platform. Build out the company profile and encourage employees join the platform. Follow the Industry leaders and experts. 8. Community Building Best Practices Social Platforms like FaceBook are great community building tools. You can use these platforms as formal/ informal channel to connect with your customers and audience. Start by creating a custom branded page on Facebook and employees to join the conversation. Post regularly and be keep the audience engaged with information, polls, questions, applications and other tactics. 9. Optimize and Promote your presence You would need to Optimize your social media presence and tune it to create visibility on the social media. Optimization techniques vary by the platform and I will discuss that in seperate blog posts. Here’s a detailed post on Optimizing Tweets. However, you could start with Including keywords in your Blog posts, Tweets and Facebook comments. Placing social media buttons on your website, Blog helping the audience connect with you Use tools to synchronize social media feeds across multiple platforms (e.g., tweetdeck). Reward your audience with simple give-aways for answering, participating, commenting, retweeting, social bookmarking, etc. Reply to the comments and suggestions. 10. Learn and Tune your Program Dig into social media analytics to evaluate performance of of various platforms and decipher visitor behavior. Evaluate the ROI for each platform and the program to optimize social media spend. Evaluate skills and performance of the employees and deploy their time on the platforms they are best suited for. Learn from the Social engagement models of your competitors and other organizations. This post is a framework for Social Media success for enterprise and will help you champion Social Media initiative in your organization. Each of these 10 Commandments needs to be adapted and fine tuned for an organization. About the Author Bhaskar Thakur is Entrepreneur, Digital Business and Social Media Evangelist. A seasoned marketer and entrepreneur with over 13 years experience, he is founder of www.worldwithoutme.com, www.initiative31.com. Bhaskar is among the first wave of Internet Marketers in India and specializes in creating Strategies, solutions and slatforms for Social Web. He enjoys mentoring businesses and coaching the young.