A lot of companies are just getting into the Social Media scene.  Sure, it’s been around for several years and to be honest, Social should just be part of the overall marketing mix.  In fact, Social should be part of the overall organizations strategy for Sales Engagement, Marketing Plans, Technical Efforts and even Executive Communications.

 
Really, Social should just be an extension of traditional business plans.  However, some companies are just starting to embrace it.
 
This post is focused on the need for a company to have a Social Media strategy.  Social Media can help extend and enhance the brand.  When done right a Social Media strategy can elevate the brand to levels that would cost a small fortune via traditional media campaigns.
 
What’s the Minimum Bar
 
I suppose the minimum is Do Nothing.  However, that option is fraught with risk.  The biggest risk is … your customers can’t find you and your competition gets a head start on you.
 
So, what are the minimum requirements and the minimum tools to get started on Social Media?  These are what I call The Big Four. Or … The Four Horsemen of Social Media (aka the FHSM).
 
The Four Horsemen of Social Media  
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook (pages and company site)

What about Google Plus, Vine, Instagram and other Social Media sites?  There is nothing wrong with utilizing these tools.  If they work better for your business use them.  However, at this time the FHSM are leading in terms of users which means they are leading in terms of reach. In Social Media reach and richness are critical.

Getting Started 
 
The first step is to decide whether your company wants to have a Social Media engagement model.  There is nothing wrong with starting small.  The most important thing is to have a plan and execute consistently.  Before getting started … make sure you can shut it down when needed.
  • Panic Button – There is a need to have quick way to shut down all Social Media engagement efforts.  There are plenty of tools to automate posts.  Make sure there is a way to shut these OFF when needed.  There have been several examples of ill-fated auto-posted tweets and Facebook posts that were mis-timed and made the brand look bad.
Ok, now that your panic button is in place … what next?
  • Setting Up Accounts

    Go to the Social Media sites and select set up a new account

  • Picking a Name
Ideally use your company name. Consider unique accounts for regional operations.  For example, “Your Company EMEA” however, make sure regional posts are part of your overall strategy.
  • Your First Posts
There is no need to call out your “newness” to the Social Media channels you have decided to use.  Just get started.
  • Your Next Posts
Execute your strategy in a predictable and repeatable manner.  Engage your audience.  Involve your Employees.  Include your Partners.  Embrace your customers.  Extend your Voice with Press & Analysts.
Reach and Richness
 
In follow-on posts I’ll talk about how to utilize Social Media tools in your business.  How to get the most out of the FHSM, how to evaluate other Social Media Tools, and how to maximize the Reach and Richness of the content you will create (and consume).
 
I will also discuss how to maximize your efforts within the a few of the most critical categories of Social Media consumers and creators.  
  • People – How to get the most from your internal teams.
  • Partners – Your secret weapon. Engage them wisely.
  • Customers – How to reach them and help them do more.
  • Press & Analysts – They have as much power as ever.
This post is a primer on the use and purpose of Social Media.  I’m assuming everyone has heard of The Four Horsemen of Social Media.  I’m guessing many people have personal accounts and may have setup corporate accounts too.  However, I’m also assuming companies want to understand more about Social Media and how to get the most out of their investments in Social Media.
 
Thanks for reading along.  Please drop a note in the comments or at any of my Social Media contact points below.  I look forward to hearing from you and interacting.  Together WE make Social Media work.
 
Jeff Shuey
  
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