Today’s guest post is from Mike Germano, co-founder and president of Carrot Creative.
In this landscape, where everyone talks about the need to “get” social media, a basic social media audit can help you save a great deal of time before rolling out a larger strategy.
Carrot Creative’s audit takes into account your current social media presence but also looks at what assets you have that can be leveraged across online channels. For example, while some people go down a checklist — Do I have a blog? Do we have a Twitter account? How about a Facebook page? — we look first at what you already have and then how you can push it out to the community.
Here are a few points to think about when auditing your brand before starting a social media strategy.
What if you don’t have a big brand name?
Big brands have it easier. We get that. They can use it to their advantage when engaging with the online community. If you’re not a big brand, let your community members know they’re on a ride to make your brand big that and you want them to join you. If you’re not a big player, you can learn from what they’ve already done and use social media as a direct channel to communicate with your fans, enhance customer service and build up an audience for your product. By engaging with social media communities early on, you’ll build a loyal fan base that will help you in the end.
What if you don’t have content?
Make some. It’s easy. If you don’t have a lot of content, get in the conversation. Start chatting up your brand on Twitter or on blog comments. Still, your CEO and executives probably have some smart thoughts that can be turned into a simple blog post. Images of products and events are a click away from Flickr, and videos are easy to make.
What if you’re not ready?
While some companies “say” they’re ready for social media, some aren’t. Yes, you’re already behind brands that are currently making strides, but don’t rush into it if you’re not ready. We’ve seen a lot of companies make mistakes by jumping into this space too early and fail. You may not be ready but we encourage one strategy: Brand defense. Claim every vanity URL site on the popular social networks and post a link directing them to your main site. When you are ready, you already have the outlet and your consumers will be ready to start the conversation.
Mike Germano is co-founder and President of Carrot Creative, a new media agency in New York. Mike and his team consult with major brands on strategy and creative development in emerging and social Web technologies.
Photo credit, obskura