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Running multiple social media accounts can be challenging, especially if you’re a global business running those accounts across multiple markets and in several languages.
B-to-C companies will most likely split their accounts by function and/or sub-brand. They may even set different social accounts up for each new product and campaign. What happens to these accounts when the campaign is over? Are they taken down or left online like virtual ghost towns where no one responds to consumers who still want to engage? Social media gets even more complicated for chains and franchises. Social media skills aren’t consistent, and so the customer experience also risks being inconsistent.
It’s not uncommon for a brand team to feel that its social media presences have become too cumbersome to manage. Top global brands surveyed cited insufficient resources for their social media goals, their ability to contain and engage with customer-created content and that they had too many social media accounts to manage. They didn’t feel ready to face a crisis breaking on social media—and when a crisis hits, it can hit hard.
But social media doesn’t have to be complicated, even when it’s on a global scale. Here’s how brands can regain control of their social media strategy and management.
Assess the current state of play
Conduct a social media audit. Create a list of each channel and ask some basic questions. What’s the account’s purpose? Does each account reflect the brand’s tone and values? Are people engaging with the brand? Why are they getting involved, and how often are they doing so? What’s the brand’s response rate like? Is the account monitored? Is it meeting KPIs? If not, are the right people running the account, or is the account even needed at all?
With the right tools in place to collect the data and the right people to analyze it, brands can get an accurate and up-to-date picture of their social media presences.
Understand the purpose behind the brand’s social media outreach
How does social media link to the business’s objectives? How does the social media account you’re auditing meet the customer’s objectives?
The audit should help show how customers connect with the brand, why they engage on the platforms and with what accounts they engage with. Knowing this will help the brand define its SMART goals to guide its social media strategy.
Rework the brand’s social strategy to serve its new objectives
Now that the objectives are clear, the brand can focus on how to use various channels and accounts to meet them.
The brand might have one social account for sales, one for creating brand awareness and one for customer service issues. Consider whether objectives are best served by using hyper-local accounts (per store location), by region or by one central social media presence, or a combination of these. Ask how much autonomy local teams should have to create content and solve problems and whether the business can staff accounts with people who are fluent in the local language and culture as well as skilled social media managers. These decisions form the basis for the overall social strategy.
Create a structure that delivers
A spoke–hub model is ideal for brands that want to retain some central control of their social media but still wish to deliver relevant, localized content and engagement. The overall social strategy and creative direction sits in the central hub in addition to the brand’s tone of voice, guidelines and standards for engagement and reporting. The local spokes are responsible for implementing the strategy, localization, engagement, quality assurance, data analysis and insights.
Rewrite the rules of engagement
Decide what rules will govern all social media accounts. These guidelines should include elements like the brand’s voice, any governance guidelines and engagement targets.
Create a process for managing multiple accounts
By creating a process, brands can ensure that each account is managed in a consistent and engaging way. The process starts with finding the best tools and most experienced people. Brands are flooded with data, but without the tools to analyze that data and the people with the skills to use it, the data is useless.
Next, the brand needs to plan compelling creative content that encourages people to engage. This is where local expertise is crucial. Have the right publishing tools in place to service multiple accounts. A paid media strategy is vital. Brands need to promote their social media posts to ensure their content reaches the right audiences. Particularly when geo-marketing and targeting hyper-local audiences.
Lastly, brands must find a way to measure progress against their objectives. An effective social media strategy will be tweaked all the time based on live data and insights, and this should be done as well as a more formal monthly review of objectives.