Do you sometimes seem to get lost in handling your social media activities? Here are five ideas that can save you time — and a lot of nerves!
- Know your editing status. Once a comment rolls in via Facebook or Twitter, you should react within reasonable time. Needless to say, it’s great to have more than one employee who can potentially respond. However, once several people start working on the same matter, things tend to get a little confusing. It is crucial to know if one of your teammates has already followed up on a request — and how. This way you can avoid contacting people several times, or even sending out opposite messages. Establish a workflow that lets you keep track of the attention a post has already received by your colleagues.
- If you like the two-man rule, stick with it. Double-checking those pieces of information that leave the confines of a company’s own four walls is common and quite sensible, since it makes people more comfortable about external communications — bosses and employees alike. Social media, contrary to what many people think, does not force you to say goodbye to this principle. But you need a workflow that adapts to the quick response cycles in social media. Waiting for three weeks for an OK to post a Facebook comment is not reasonable. A good workflow should allow the boss to quickly review and approve suggested posts — and force him to do so on a regular basis! — so your social communications aren’t running too far behind.
- Establish push alerting. You might not want to know what’s happening on your social media profiles at all times. But if an upset critic starts to really stir things up, you should know immediately, no matter if it’s Sunday afternoon. Many problems are easily solved if you react early enough, so don’t miss out on that chance. You can set up push alerts that inform you via e-mail, desktop alert or SMS, and you can tell them when to stay silent and when to ring the bell. This way, you can enjoy your time off, but you won’t encounter bad surprises when entering the office again.
- Use automation processes. Automation can go beyond push alerting. Take, for example, posts that violate company rules, the netiquette or basic rules of good conduct: It is perfectly legitimate to erase those posts, and the procedure shouldn’t take up too much of your time. Also, you can make sure that troublemakers won’t get far enough to agitate the rest of your community — since offensive comments won’t even show up on your public page.
- Ensure revision security. Take Facebook as an example: If a post is deleted here, usually you won’t be able to prove it was there later on. This is important, though — for example when problems arise. Let’s hope you never have to block a user and erase his or her posts. But if it comes to that, you should be able to document why your decision was necessary — internally, but also to everybody else if they ask.
Most of these principles don’t require extra tools and software to begin with. You can start by working with cloud solutions such as Evernote or Google Docs, and, for example, simply take pictures to ensure revision security. For basic workflow automation, IFTTT (If This Then That) is worth looking into. But keep in mind that you never know how long free services and tools will be around (for free). If you decide to use a professional social media workflow tool, take a close look at included features such as multiple user dashboards, four-eye-publishing, alerting and automation functions.
Joerg Rensmann, CEO of InfoMantis, is a German entrepreneur who believes that professional social and mobile engagement always needs a consistent technical framework. His intelligent-workflow tools Somla and Smewof serve Deutsche Postbank, Deutsche Telekom, Microsoft and Germanwings. He can be reached via e-mail.