Ah, summer. A time where the sun is out, the roads are calling and the tell-tale ‘car with sign on top and flashy school name on side’ is driving 39 mph in the left lane. Driver’s education, a time-honored tradition but also a very real education period where lessons are learned that carry over for decades.
Just as novice drivers begin learning the rules of the road, brands continue to jump into social media and attempt to have their ‘big moment’ in an increasingly crowded digital environment. Using driver’s education as a framework, here are some very simple and specific social media tips to keep your program driving forward and out of the ditch:
Stay Alert — The reality is that drivers young and old can be lulled into auto-pilot, much like community managers and content developers. Falling into the rhythm of things can be a sign of a quality team effectively driving a program, or it can be a major red flag that your brand might quickly fall behind, or make mistakes. Use dynamic reporting (for internal purposes as well as client uodates), as well as continued process development to ensure you are always evolving and noting things as they develop. As social media tips will often involve Listening (see below) as a major program component, it’s essential your program has within its ongoing duties a look to the future using insights outside of existing efforts. Which lends itself nicely to…
Check Your Blind Spot — Just because you’re not looking to go there doesn’t mean there’s not a hazard that can impact you right where you are. Budget limits and the preferences of brand drivers can lead to a program being hyper-focused in one place and not being aware of everything going on in the world. New social platforms may lead to unanswered complaints (or prospective customers) that you at least need to be (a) aware of and (b) planning for as you move forward. This is why Listening efforts are important, beyond your channels of engagement: to know what’s out there and decide if you need to change course. While progressing, though, be sure to…
Stay in Your Lane — I would argue the Number One error a program, new or old, can make while developing its social programs is trying to be in too many places at the same time. The solution is simple: scaling. Assess your strengths as a company, know what you do well and then stay there. Looking to create YouTube content when you’re a novice at video making is a disaster for your branding and runs the risk of making an awful first impression if that’s how someone finds you. One of the most important social media tips you can heed is to scale your program by effectively managing one platform at a time, based upon your resources and the audience available to your brand.
Avoid Distractions Inside — Distracted driving is something that is constantly in the news as technology continues to draw our attention away from the matter at hand. For a brand, there are similar distractions in the staff and programs building forward. Ensure everyone within your program knows their role, that all employees are clearly aware of your social media posting guidelines and be redundant in your messaging. While reviewing the ‘rules’ may garner an eye roll, a lack of awareness can garner a social media disaster. This also applies to ensuring you have all your bases covered on the platforms you’re on currently before jumping to something else because someone has a great idea. Move slowly when it comes to real-time efforts to avoid future disasters.
Know the Local Law — The reality is, just because something is okay to do on one platform (or for one client) doesn’t mean it’s right (or legal) for others. Professional industries have very specific, often varying state-to-state rules (and laws) regarding what can be posted and how. For instance, did you know financial advisors are encouraged not to allow Endorsements on LinkedIn? Your best bet is to not only know the rules of where you’re going, but perhaps adhering to the most strict of rules to ensure you’re always compliant.
While framing all of this in line with driver’s education is just a fun way to share some social media tips, it’s important to realize that many companies are still just getting started and are novices similar to 16 year-old’s behind the wheel. We can all agree, though, that we often find ourselves watching much older drivers exhibit behaviors that show they could use some more lessons from back in the day. All that said, be sure your program is being safe, effective and methodical in its efforts and you’ll avoid some avoidable wrecks.
Photo Credit: TejvanPhotos