An integral part of management is to define and delegate tasks. In any size organization this practice is critical to the overall function. This is all the more true if third-party vendors are involved. While the granular approach is fine for many operational aspects, it is suicide to a social media effort.
If social media is isolated in the company it loses the support channels needed to be effective. Why? Because social media isn’t a task like driving a truck or processing forms, it redefines the type of relationship you have with your customers. Also, because social media is very much the voice of the company, the integrity of your reputation depends on the company backing up what that voice says.
“..social media isn’t a task like driving a truck or processing forms, it redefines the type of relationship you have with your customers.”
As a mental exercise, think of the Press Secretary for the President of the United States. In a sense their job is simple, yet due to their exposure for and association with the President, they get a lot of attention from the executive. The social media content producers must develop content that is consistent with the company’s message and values, but their words are only as meaningful as the company’s actual practice.
Social media has a tight feedback loop, so failure to have vertical integration will manifest quickly and painfully as people use their own social media reach to amplify real or perceived inconsistencies between their expectations and your delivery.
At this point there may be a temptation to dampen the messages you send through the social media channels. Resist! Being tepid or defensive will show through your marketing messages. If you seek to be a dominant force in your market you must take pains to ensure the customer is very happy.
For social media and damage control, this means a fast response to complaints by people who actually have the authority to resolve the issues. Also, don’t view the complaining customer as the problem, but rather analyze the circumstances of their complaint and see if employ training or policy adjustments are needed.
Taking the high road and driving for customer satisfaction, based on a responsive relationship to your customers, is the way to ensure you’re not just “doing” social media, but “being” and engaging and caring company.