Most businesses will tell you they have a social media strategy, but upon closer inspection, what many businesses actually have is a marketing department employee who pays lip service to social media, pushing out carefully crafted, tone-deaf marketing messages. As social media evolves to play a more central role in the lives of your customers, it’s critical to develop a rock-solid social strategy.

In Part I of my blog post about how to build a truly social business, I talked about some of the fundamental components of a successful social media strategy: Your customer service on social media must feel genuine and personal, and you must engage with your customers on social media in a meaningful and genuine manner, especially your most challenging customers.

In this post, I want to discuss the other essential elements you should be engaged in. First and foremost, you must find an effective, long-term way to engage and integrate your employees into your company’s social media strategy. Then, you must develop a long-range vision for what you want to achieve, organizing and planning everything out carefully to achieve those goals.

Your employees must be engaged with your corporate social media
Many businesses operate under the assumption that if they let their employees loose on social media, they will wreak havoc on the brand. So businesses restrict access to a small social media marketing team, and rely on employee email blasts to trot out their news, press releases, recognitions, and other updates that go … nowhere.

At EveryoneSocial we recently compared the rate that employees share company email vs. company news delivered to them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The study analyzed data from 10,000 software users across a variety of industries, and found that content was 38 times more likely to be shared on a social-media platform than via email.

Employees are key assets in building awareness of a company’s image and customer base. To empower them to share their company’s content, don’t restrict their Internet access at work, and establish guidelines for how to discuss your company on social media. Over time, reinforce the value of sharing company-produced content by sponsoring contests, prizes and other incentives.

You also should encourage your most gung-ho, savvy employees to move to the next level by
having them become thought leaders for your company on social media. Thought leadership involves developing in-house subject-matter experts who write columns, articles, reviews, op-eds, blogs and other interactive, multimedia content. This content must be compelling, relate to your company either directly or indirectly, and fulfill your customers’ curiosity.

Thought leadership is information-driven, not marketing-driven. You’re trying to give your customers information they value and want to continue receiving from you.

Because each thought leader uses their own voice and storytelling style, your employees have the potential to become important brand ambassadors for your company, building a personal following that directly elevates your company’s overall profile and standing with customers.

At Infusionsoft, a marketing automation software company in Phoenix, Ariz., employees are not only invited to participate in social-media thought marketing, but informed on their second day of employment that it is expected they participate on platforms such as LinkedIn Publishing.

Long-range planning and organization are key

If you barrage your customers with an endless stream of content, they will become fatigued and eventually tune you out. Instead, think strategically about sales quotas, goals, response rates, etc. you want to achieve over the long term, and align the release of your content with those goals.

For example, if you want to get the word out about a product or service you’re releasing next month, start now by planning out a list of unique, custom-tailored content that you’ll share with your audience over the course of a week or so. Identify which employees at your company are best equipped to write each piece. Plot out what day and time you’ll release each piece, and take into consideration when your customers are most active and receptive to hearing from you.

You could do all of this planning by hand, but the best social businesses are finding there’s an easier, more effective solution. Automated social media monitoring platforms like EveryoneSocial provide an integrated interface to organize and align content, and to track impact. With a platform like EveryoneSocial, you can measure the reach, shares, engagement, traffic and clicks of your advocates in total, by group, and according to platform. And it’s all displayed for you on a user-friendly dashboard interface.

Sure, there’s a cost for this product, but remember that when the process of sending and sharing content becomes streamlined and effective, you will reach more of the people you want, which in turn will amplify your content even more. Schedule a demo with us today.