Content Marketing, Social Business, Social Media Strategy, Blogging and Content Creation, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Staffing and Operations

It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach

Put down your guard.

It’s about people, not logos.

These are the two primary tenets of effective social media.

In practice, executing on them requires that you communicate with your customers and prospects across a variety of social media outposts, with significant frequency. (I tell my clients that if you can’t add at least 7-9 legitimately interesting pieces of content to your Facebook page per week, you’re probably not ready to make it a central part of your communications program).

Clearly, there’s a wrong way to do this, which involves the “official” company Twitter account, Facebook admin, et al posting banal links unilaterally.

Samsung Service Samsungservice on Twitter 202x300 Its Who You Know   Maximizing Your Companys Social ReachHere’s an example from Samsung and their @samsungservice page, which mixes an occasional customer service tweet with a steady stream of plugs. (I found this Samsung account from a great post by Dan Berlin from One to One Interactive)

If your messages sound like they were created by a robot, you’re failing both the “put down your guard” and “it’s about people” tests.

Use Humans to Humanize

The better practice is to humanize your messaging, ideally by making it come from real humans. That’s why I’m such a proponent of widespread social media and social network adoption in organizations. Each person in your company or agency has a social graph, connecting them with dozens or hundreds of people.

Unless you’re a very large and popular brand, a catch-all corporate social media presence dramatically truncates your influence because it crams the social graph onto a single, one-lane road, instead of capitalizing on the unique connections possessed by each member of your team.

Broaden Your Presence

In addition to involving more people in your social media outreach efforts, broaden the areas where that outreach occur. WAAAAY too many companies are putting all of their eggs in the Twitter or Facebook baskets. True, Facebook has 250 million global users, which is probably a couple more than come to your corporate Web site every day, but there are definitely members of your customer base that are not on Facebook. In fact, of my eight closest friends that are not professional marketers, only two are on Facebook, and one joined last week.

Create social media teams in your company that enable individual employees to participate in the communities they prefer, in the fashion they gravitate towards. If you have writers, let them old school blog or use Tumblr or Posterous. If you have folks with something to say but who aren’t ready or able to write blog posts from scratch, put them on the blog commenting team. Some people are better speakers than writers. Those are your video bloggers. Shutterbugs? Have them jump on board with Flickr. Local cognoscenti? Check out Foursquare or other location-based apps. Music fans should head to MySpace. And of course, some people should be on the Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter teams.

Pulling on the Same Rope

Now that you’ve involved multiple people in your outreach program, and created teams enabling your company to cover far more social media outposts (good stuff here from Chris Brogan) than just riding the Twitter horse incessantly.

Voila! You’ve created is a decentralized, personal, social engagement network.

Of course, your employee participants are going to mix their personal lifestream with messages about the company. That’s the whole point, remember? It’s about people, not logos.

But, what I often find with companies I help with this decentralization process, is that employees (once unshackled) don’t know what to say about the company. So, to give yourself a modicum of certainty that your people won’t massively mischaracterize the company in social media, and to give employees an idea of WHAT to say, I recommend a “Message of the Day” approach.

Content du Jour

The Message of the Day concept stems from my background as a political campaign consultant, and study of Michael Deaver’s work as the craftsman of Ronald Reagan’s message strategies.

Certainly, you can’t enforce campaign-style message discipline in social media, nor should you try. But, a small cross-functional team within your organization should meet every day at 4:55 for 5 minutes to determine what might be legitimately interesting to your customers tomorrow. Out of that meeting should stem the Message of the Day for tomorrow.

Disseminate the MOD to all social media active employees, first thing every morning. I prefer using Yammer (a private, internal Twitter-like application) for this, but a group email list will suffice, too.

The MOD needs to be 120 characters or less (remember, The Elevator Pitch is Dead), including if applicable, a shortened URL preferably set up to be tracked via Bit.ly, Hootsuite, or BudURL.

Once receiving the MOD, employees are free to modify it to fit their own style and social media outpost (you may want to provide MOD visuals for employees active in Flickr and Facebook). Or, if it doesn’t feel authentic, if it doesn’t feel like something they WOULD ACTUALLY SAY IN REAL LIFE they should be encouraged to ignore that MOD.

The MOD is in place and working well for several of my clients. Are you ready to try something similar? Are you already?

  • http://www.igomogul.com/blog iGoMogul

    We’ve all read, heard, blogged about utilizing people already within the company to evangelize in the SM sphere (ad nauseam)–so thanks for a post that is more roadmap than generalization. The MOD meeting at the end of the day is a great idea if it is done effectively.

    I understand employees on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. spreading the MOD. But, how do you see those music loving employees spreading a company message on MySpace relevantly? And authentically?

    Sara @ iGoMogul

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jason Baer

      Sara – Great point. I didn’t mean to leave out MySpace. While the demos of MySpace may not line up for all companies, if you have employees that are active there, and love it, go for it. This may work better if you are Sweet Leaf Tea – a music-focused beverage brand – instead of Mutual of Omaha insurance, but overall let people communicate where they are an active, authentic member.

  • http://www.igomogul.com/blog iGoMogul

    We’ve all read, heard, blogged about utilizing people already within the company to evangelize in the SM sphere (ad nauseam)–so thanks for a post that is more roadmap than generalization. The MOD meeting at the end of the day is a great idea if it is done effectively.

    I understand employees on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. spreading the MOD. But, how do you see those music loving employees spreading a company message on MySpace relevantly? And authentically?

    Sara @ iGoMogul

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jason Baer

      Sara – Great point. I didn’t mean to leave out MySpace. While the demos of MySpace may not line up for all companies, if you have employees that are active there, and love it, go for it. This may work better if you are Sweet Leaf Tea – a music-focused beverage brand – instead of Mutual of Omaha insurance, but overall let people communicate where they are an active, authentic member.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    I disagree a little about setting FB or Twitter quotas. You should always be listening, but I think less is more if you what you do say is of genuine interest or value.

    That said I think the rest is dead on, re: SM and strategic planning:

    • Plan what tools, channels including places other than FB and Twitter.
    • Plan who is on the SM teams; who tweets, who comments.
    • Plan for the messengers to speak in their own voices, with a little guidance from core brand Message or MOD.

    As always, good stuff. Thanks.
    .-= Davina K. Brewer´s last blog ..Social Networks & the Rookie, Part the Second: Personal or Professional? =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jason Baer

      Davina – Great point. I didn’t mean to suggest a hard frequency limit in any social media venue, but wanted to convey that you shouldn’t treat your Facebook page (or any other outpost) like a static Yellow Pages ad.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    I disagree a little about setting FB or Twitter quotas. You should always be listening, but I think less is more if you what you do say is of genuine interest or value.

    That said I think the rest is dead on, re: SM and strategic planning:

    • Plan what tools, channels including places other than FB and Twitter.
    • Plan who is on the SM teams; who tweets, who comments.
    • Plan for the messengers to speak in their own voices, with a little guidance from core brand Message or MOD.

    As always, good stuff. Thanks.
    .-= Davina K. Brewer´s last blog ..Social Networks & the Rookie, Part the Second: Personal or Professional? =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jason Baer

      Davina – Great point. I didn’t mean to suggest a hard frequency limit in any social media venue, but wanted to convey that you shouldn’t treat your Facebook page (or any other outpost) like a static Yellow Pages ad.

  • http://closingbigger.net/ Shane Gibson

    I like the MOD concept. Should they all add up to a brand message? Individual MODs adding up to a greater message?

  • http://closingbigger.net Shane Gibson

    I like the MOD concept. Should they all add up to a brand message? Individual MODs adding up to a greater message?

  • http://ciaoenrico.com/ Ciaoenrico

    I’ve had that job of trying to get people within an organization to share posts on a company blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I feel getting others to contribute is difficult not just because they’re unsure of what to post, but because they feel “on the spot” representing the company. An MOD would certainly help, but they usually need experience posting about anything just to learn the ground rules and get over the stage fright.

    Perhaps going forward, if organizations know they are going to move on a social media strategy, they should ask job candidates about their own social media experience – even if what they’re applying for has nothing to do with it. Find out not only where they post, but where they enjoy posting. If they can find someone in the interview process who doesn’t care about Twitter or Facebook, but is actually a SlideShare god, it’s a whole other venue the company can exist on.

    Passion for social media takes employees time to develop if they’re coming to it for the first time, but it’s also self-taught. I think getting new people on board who are already comfortable with it and have a particular networking site they already excel at makes the process of turning a company social a lot easier.
    .-= Ciaoenrico´s last blog ..Twitter is Pointless – Millions get Pissed =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jason Baer

      Eric – I know something about your experiences in this area. (readers, pay attention to @Ciaoenrico, he’s super smart).

      You raise a terrific point. It’s hard to even know if you have passion if you haven’t done it in the past. I may very well have a passion for trapeze. I doubt it, but since I’ve never been on a trapeze, I can’t say for sure. Social media could be similar for some. I love the notion of screening for social aptitude and passion during the employment process.

      You should write up a guest post about that. I’d love to run it here on C&C.;

      • http://ciaoenrico.com/ Ciaoenrico

        :) I’m on it, Chief!

  • http://ciaoenrico.com Ciaoenrico

    I’ve had that job of trying to get people within an organization to share posts on a company blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I feel getting others to contribute is difficult not just because they’re unsure of what to post, but because they feel “on the spot” representing the company. An MOD would certainly help, but they usually need experience posting about anything just to learn the ground rules and get over the stage fright.

    Perhaps going forward, if organizations know they are going to move on a social media strategy, they should ask job candidates about their own social media experience – even if what they’re applying for has nothing to do with it. Find out not only where they post, but where they enjoy posting. If they can find someone in the interview process who doesn’t care about Twitter or Facebook, but is actually a SlideShare god, it’s a whole other venue the company can exist on.

    Passion for social media takes employees time to develop if they’re coming to it for the first time, but it’s also self-taught. I think getting new people on board who are already comfortable with it and have a particular networking site they already excel at makes the process of turning a company social a lot easier.
    .-= Ciaoenrico´s last blog ..Twitter is Pointless – Millions get Pissed =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jason Baer

      Eric – I know something about your experiences in this area. (readers, pay attention to @Ciaoenrico, he’s super smart).

      You raise a terrific point. It’s hard to even know if you have passion if you haven’t done it in the past. I may very well have a passion for trapeze. I doubt it, but since I’ve never been on a trapeze, I can’t say for sure. Social media could be similar for some. I love the notion of screening for social aptitude and passion during the employment process.

      You should write up a guest post about that. I’d love to run it here on C&C.

      • http://ciaoenrico.com Ciaoenrico

        :) I’m on it, Chief!

  • Carrie Steffens

    RT @jaybaer Maximizing corporate social outreach with a Message of the Day. http://ow.ly/kAPC

  • http://www.sweetleafteablog.com/ April Riggs

    Hey Jason!

    Thanks for the shout-out (re: Myspace, music-focused) in your comments section.

    I think this is a great post and needed as more businesses are jumping onto the social media platform, the better equipped they can be to NOT come off as spam or corporate jabber. Personality goes a long way while keeping in mind who you work for and who your audience is.

    Keep up the great work my friend!
    April
    .-= April Riggs´s last blog ..And the Sweet Leaf Tea SG Guitar Winner Is… =-.

  • http://www.sweetleafteablog.com April Riggs

    Hey Jason!

    Thanks for the shout-out (re: Myspace, music-focused) in your comments section.

    I think this is a great post and needed as more businesses are jumping onto the social media platform, the better equipped they can be to NOT come off as spam or corporate jabber. Personality goes a long way while keeping in mind who you work for and who your audience is.

    Keep up the great work my friend!
    April
    .-= April Riggs´s last blog ..And the Sweet Leaf Tea SG Guitar Winner Is… =-.

  • http://www.promo-place.com/ JAYNE

    Thanks for posting, really great advice. :)

  • http://www.promo-place.com JAYNE

    Thanks for posting, really great advice. :)

  • http://twitter.com/jeffhurt/status/3433183144 Jeff Hurt

    It’s Who You Know by @jaybaer [Tips 4 How 2 use Social Media Effectively] http://ow.ly/kIl5

  • http://jamiefavreau.wordpress.com/ Jamie Favreau

    I agree. I realized this and when trying to explain something to someone who doesn’t get “IT” then you have a problem. The shiny object isn’t always the right answer to everyone’s problem. They need to find the audience instead of trying to create one.
    .-= Jamie Favreau´s last blog ..Do you have influence or a bunch of followers? =-.

  • http://jamiefavreau.wordpress.com Jamie Favreau

    I agree. I realized this and when trying to explain something to someone who doesn’t get “IT” then you have a problem. The shiny object isn’t always the right answer to everyone’s problem. They need to find the audience instead of trying to create one.
    .-= Jamie Favreau´s last blog ..Do you have influence or a bunch of followers? =-.

  • http://twitter.com/nfpnews/status/3445952585 NFPNews

    RT @tweetmeme It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach http://bit.ly/cwD63

  • http://twitter.com/groupfriends/status/3446330778 The Group

    Message of the day: Interesting concept for companies to encourage employees to use #socialmedia. http://bit.ly/U6Q6P

  • http://twitter.com/joelnewcomer/status/3449789049 joelnewcomer

    It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach http://bit.ly/9CyTa #Convince&Convert [great advice!]

  • http://twitter.com/vantage_point/status/3450230234 vantage_point

    RT @joelnewcomer It's Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company's Social Reach http://bit.ly/9CyTa [interesting ideas]

  • http://www.rswus.com/ Lee McKnight Jr

    Great post, and as others have said, presents a nicely framed road-map, but I definitely agree with Ciaoenrico-we really just started our social media strategy in late June and have been avidly trying to get folks on-board internally. We’re a small company, so a bit of a challenge out of the gate. It’s been difficult to say the least.

  • http://www.rswus.com Lee McKnight Jr

    Great post, and as others have said, presents a nicely framed road-map, but I definitely agree with Ciaoenrico-we really just started our social media strategy in late June and have been avidly trying to get folks on-board internally. We’re a small company, so a bit of a challenge out of the gate. It’s been difficult to say the least.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com/ Promotional Products

    You bring up some great points here. Very well written and informative, thanks.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com Promotional Products

    You bring up some great points here. Very well written and informative, thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/youngoffice/status/3584546982 Young Office

    RT @tweetmeme It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Cons… http://bit.ly/cwD63

  • http://www.netwitsthinktank.com/ frank

    I love this approach to solving the social media scalability problem. I also love that this approach get’s more people involved which increases the chances of more people really enjoying social media work (those that may not have been exposed to it before).

    Doing it this way has the potential to really build up a strong internal team of people who are bringing the human side of business to the public.

    In this model do you have a true owner or team that managers it all so that someone is responsible for the overall success?

    Also, the MOD is awesome! Have you come across any other tactics like this to help fuel the social media team?

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  • http://www.netwitsthinktank.com frank

    I love this approach to solving the social media scalability problem. I also love that this approach get’s more people involved which increases the chances of more people really enjoying social media work (those that may not have been exposed to it before).

    Doing it this way has the potential to really build up a strong internal team of people who are bringing the human side of business to the public.

    In this model do you have a true owner or team that managers it all so that someone is responsible for the overall success?

    Also, the MOD is awesome! Have you come across any other tactics like this to help fuel the social media team?

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  • http://twitter.com/charleshdenney/status/3825024967 Charles Denney

    It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach – http://short.to/pj0g

  • http://twitter.com/legalninjakris/status/3825078788 Kristina Duncan

    RT @charleshdenney: It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach – http://short.to/pj0g

  • http://twitter.com/thecoolestcool/status/8329667368 Ross Simmonds

    It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach – http://ow.ly/11e9Q

  • http://twitter.com/troubletree/status/20460024479 Pamela BakerGratton

    Oldie but Goodie: RT @jaybaer: It's Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company's Social Reach http://bit.ly/Mah0S

  • letstalkandchat

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/