A common childhood memory that may quickly be dying off (thanks a lot Internet!) is your first kite. Inevitably one in a series due to bad crashes, poor storage or just, you know, kid damage, a kite represents a chance to do something bigger and loftier than your current day-to-day. And, in reality, every kite flies. The question, instead, is how long, and how well, that kite flies.
I buried the metaphor in the title but, inevitably, it isn’t hard to see a commonality between that first kite and the ongoing evolution of brands engaging online. In reality,flying a kite, just like social media, simply requires running fast enough. Sprint long enough and and your kite will ‘fly’ right behind you, albeit perhaps muddling and bouncing to and fro. However, and my apologies for the overly ‘fanciful’ metaphor, in order to make your kite (and program) soar (ugh), there are facets of skill and knowledge required.
Using the most bare bones of explanation sites (and because Buzzfeed has somehow not created 10 SHOCKING WAYS TO FLY A KITE THAT KITE PROFESSIONALS HATE) as a backgrounder, here are some program guidance points aligned with flying a kite:
1. Pick Your Kite
Simply put, from the start you must decide what your goals and overall engagement hopes are. What vehicle does your social media program use to interact with consumers? YouTube? Twitter? A Blog? Define your social program beyond creating a login. This also applies for the size and scope of your program: are you building a juggernaut with 100 interactions/day or simply a placeholder for future engagement.
2. Pick the Right Day
While it’s great to have a presence, you also need to set parameters. When can your audience expect updates (especially important for customer service)? Outline the framework to ensure you have the potential for success. You also don’t want to set yourself up for failure by going out on a rainy day; don’t create a presence on YouTube, for instance, if you know your brand is unable to create quality content.
3. Pick the Right Space
Determine what you are looking to do, regularly and exceptionally, and find the platform that allows you to do that.
4. Find a Buddy to Help
I cannot preach this enough: do a volume analysis before engagement to ensure you can maintain quality at the highest level. By determining scope, you will know what staffing requirements you have and can proceed to success from there.
5. Determine Roles
While you and your ‘buddy’ are looking to fly the kite, you can’t both be running with the string. Be sure to appoint key roles within your organization so there is clarity on processes, clarity with assignment and efficiency all around.
6. Give Yourself Room for Success
Create community guidelines that clearly dictate to your audience what they can expect, when they can expect it and what your process looks like, both for marketing and customer service. It’s okay if your organization cannot maintain 24/7 support – own it, make it clear and build to being better in time.
7. Give Your Buddy the Signal
Does your program have a clear process for handing off engagement between agents based upon customer needs or efficiency? Well it should. How else can your program scale quickly while providing dynamic results if you don’t have your internal processes mapped to provide exceptional support when you engage. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
8. Pay Attention to the Wind
An effective social program not only pushes out content – it also effectively addressing incoming engagement AND monitors discussion about the brand and the world. You don’t want to be caught being the company posting unintentionally insensitive content, nor do you want to miss an opportunity to provide dynamite service.
9. Let Loose/Fly Your Kite!
A social media program has to be social. Engage, monitor, track and succeed. The best thing a social media program can do is set up effective policies and processes and then test them through execution. Take notes as you go, meet regularly to discuss improvements but, most importantly, do what you came to do: engage!
10. Make it Interesting
Only after your “kite” is in the air should you begin considering what you can do to distinguish your program from others. Don’t try to come out of the gate clever; analyze data and see what others are doing online to see if there’s something fun and unique your brand can be doing (and this doesn’t mean shoving memes down everyone’s throats to show your company is clever).
While the metaphor may be clumsy, the reality is companies can learn a lot from something as simple and light-hearted as a kite. The kite has been around since the 5th century; though your program may not have that much longevity in it, that does not mean you can’t provide an exceptionally entertaining service while standing out in the world. Something as simple as flying a kite may seem difficult at first, especially in adverse conditions, but can be great with proper planning and a quality environment for success.
Photo Unchanged, Credit: Bridget Coila