Death to the 'nice to have' social media
If you're not a brand that can afford a team of social media experts, you have two choices; outsourcing (for big companies) and in-house. I do not like outsourcing when it comes to my brand, even if it's a small one. My brand is my face, my income and I don't want anyone messing with my income.
Social media today is the first interaction your brand will have with a potential customer. If you screw it up – you lose a customer.
When your social media is outsourced it is much easier to screw it up, as the only interest that outsource has to you is money. You and your team have more invested in the brand than money, so what you need to do is wake up, stop holding on to a social media outlet simply because it is nice to have, and start building your social brand.
When you meet somebody new, it takes you seconds to put him or her in a category in your head, and that's exactly what happens when somebody meets a new brand.
When you're a multimillion dollar worldwide brand, it's easier to do everything right and everything wrong. It will be much harder to screw up your brand just by having a crappy social media outlet.
So if you're not a mega-brand, start using it. In time you will see that it will increase your income and be almost a solo player in building a good reputation.
Get someone in house. Get him passionate about your brand. Yes, sometimes you must pay more to get someone passionate about an unknown brand. And get that in house team or person to know every bit of what happens in your company.
Let them be part of your company and find out how much time it takes Phil from accounting, to pay Sam from design. Social media people are the representatives of your brand. They are the new faces of you. So they need to know how you work.
When they have enough info they will know how to answer best to any questions or complaints. When customers get good answers, they tend to lose their hostility towards your brand.
A good social media team or person would know how to get added value content from Bill the truck driver and from Steve the geeky technician. Customers who get added value content tend to like your brand more.
A good social media team or person will know how to turn a potential customer into your very own ambassador; praising your brand for being there when he needed you. And yes, answering an online question in less than an hour is a good start.
I'm not telling you to get rid of your outsourced team. I mean, I am, but only if you can afford an in house one. What I want to emphasize here is that social media has stopped being a 'nice to have' project a long time ago. You should invest in a good social media team or person. In house or out.