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SOCIAL MEDIA: 8 Essentials Needed To Start a Social Media Program

mikeharringtonwebsiteWorking with an organization recently to train their staff on how to best implement a social media program, my brother and I found ourselves needing to take a deeper look into why some organizations succeed at social media and why some, for lack of a better term, just stink at it.

There are many different kinds of social media and for each one, there are probably a hundred different recommendations on how to best use them, but as we were discussing best practices we kept coming back to the same question: “what does a social media initiative need to have in order to be successful?”  See, every company has critical success factors, those “without a doubt” things that it needs in order to function, and so, why can’t an initiative or program also have success factors?

SMBD COVER_cropIn developing our recent training (preview training workbook), we found eight factors that we felt were essential to good social media…

1. Authentic content that is value-added to the viewer

Ask yourself these questions…
· Do I actively seek out content from other individuals and/or departments?
· Does my content inform/educate the viewer and does it call them to action?
· Do I see my social media as an extension of current promotional materials?

2. Regular commitment of time and energy to maintaining up-to-date pages with timely information

Ask yourself these questions…
· Am I willing to commit a portion of my time or an employee’s time to the social media program?
· What is an acceptable amount of time to spend on maintaining social media that allows us keep the content current?

3. Diverse and relevant audience that helps the organization reach its terminal objectives

Ask yourself these questions…
· Do my viewers represent the target audience of the organization?
· What initiatives will we employ to build our audience base?
· Can the audience I have help me reach my future goals and or objectives?

4. Clear vision that provides guidance and inspiration to the social media facilitator

Ask yourself these questions…
· Have I thought about what my vision is for social media within my organization?
· Have I communicated that vision and objectives to my staff?
· Does my vision provide my facilitator with the necessary insight to work towards an end goal?

Wondering how to create a vision and a change initiative for social media? Download our paper on How to Gain Buy In for a Social Media Initiative Within Your Organization

5. Knowledgeable and intuitive facilitator that is able to independently grow his/her understanding of social media and of the organization

Ask yourself these questions…
· Who is my point person for social media within my organization?
· Have I clearly defined the role of the facilitator and his/her responsibilities?
· Does my facilitator have the capability to get the initiative to where I want it to be?
· Have I given my facilitator the authority to run the program and grow his/her knowledge?

6. Credibility within the industry as well as social media that builds trust among followers

Ask yourself these questions…
· Have I established myself as a credible organization on whatever the subject matter is?
· Do my current and potential clients trust me?
· What content or service can I provide through social media that will make me more credible?

7. Clear and consistent flow of relevant communication that allows the facilitator to have a broad view of the organization and its components

Ask yourself these questions…
· Have I established a flow of communication within the organization that funnels content to my facilitator?
· Do I see my facilitator as marketer for my organization and have I given him/her a seat at the table with other public relations personnel?
· Does my facilitator have the authority to request content and information from other individuals or departments?

8. Regular collection of measurements that aid in the organization’s strategic approach and that are based on fact

Ask yourself these questions…
· What tools will I use to measure the responsiveness of my audience? (i.e. Google Analytics)
· Once I’ve established baseline statistics how often should we collect follow up data?
· Now that I have the data, how will I choose to use it to better my social media impact?

However, the number one question that must be answered before any of these others… Am I truly committed to making social media work for my organization?

When it comes to social media, so many companies and executives know they should be using it, but many find themselves struggling with how to use it. Sure, anyone can create a page and post a picture, but is that the magical combination that will make your social media program a success? Probably not. Business social media deserves a business approach, one with a clear vision and attainable objectives that are based on essential components aimed at achieving success.

For more information on social media for business and how New Directions can be your training source, contact me at…

If you liked this, you may want to read these:

•           FREE PAPER: How To Gain Buy In For A Social Media Initiative Within Your Organization

•           Social Media in the Workplace

•           You’ve Got a Friend: NDC Trains Social Media at Leadership Summit

•           VIDEO: We didn’t create it but we like it: Social Media Revolution

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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