Find your social why

Whether individual or corporate, your social media strategy has to start with one question. Why are we doing this?

There are plenty of people having a go at social, either for themselves or for their organisation. Some of them are doing because they think they should or everyone else is doing it. And sometimes, the why is hard to see.

There are some things that you need if you are going to do social properly (and I see daily examples of people who are not). Here are just a few:

• Make the case. Explain what it is, what is in it for people to get social. Demonstrate the benefits.
• You need to provide training in how to use it. Once people understand why, help them with how.
• You need to join it up – the internal and the external. Truly social organisations have both, and they are mutually supporting
• You need a policy. A small one will do. But some guidance on what you think is okay at your place is important.
• Get some leaders involved. It provides them with a whole new opportunity to engage, and provides a role model that this is an okay way to spend your time.

But first and foremost, you need a why. If it is a personal why, perhaps it is to help you get a new job. Improve your personal brand. Or get yourself a regular gig blogging for the HRD Magazine. If it is corporate strategy, maybe it’s the employer brand, consumer brand, or supporting the sales effort. Reducing the recruitment spend, demonstrating authentic leadership, supporting internal communications and collaboration. All these things can be the aims and outcomes of your social strategy. So pick your thing or things. Because everything else flows from there. For many people, social is still a big unknown. While there are some employees that will embrace it straight away, there are others to whom this is one more chore on the to-do list, something that feels like it should be an outside of work thing, who don’t see what is in it for them or why they need it. There are those who struggle with technology or the terminology. You have to meet each of these people where they are and help them along the way. Having a clearly articulated aim will help.

I spend quite a lot of time talking to people, HR professionals in particular, about why they might want to get social and how to get started. Many of the people I meet have a general feeling that they should be social, or more social. And I always say the same things to them, starting with asking them why they want to or think they should. Because if you don’t know why you are doing it, or you don’t have an overall goal, then it just won’t happen. It will fall into the same category as going to the gym. Out of social, I get great connections. I learn from others in my network and my profession. I am forced to think and reflect through my own blogging. Oh, and I can keep up with all the news on One Direction.

So before you even start on the strategy, pick your platforms, write the policy guidelines, or send your first tweet, define your social why. This will define the rest of your journey.

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