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5 Lessons from Managing Social Media for Fortune 500 Companies

Alison Kawa - Wednesday, April 02, 2014

1. The engine is already running.

Before you showed up, talented people were doing their jobs well, sometimes for decades. They have a lot of industry knowledge. There have usually been other projects that had similar requirements involving many of the same team members. It is your job to figure out if the way things currently get done will achieve your goals. If not, you need to incorporate team feedback to develop a very simple process that saves time and effort. You then need to motivate everyone on the team to participate so your process actually works.

2. Big brands need to move as fast as they responsibly can.

Posting a personal Facebook status update isn’t even in the same universe as posting on a company page. Large brands can be agile on social media, but they need to play by different rules. The organization has a brand image to uphold, a customer base to please, and a legal department to obey. Big companies have to pace themselves to avoid making mistakes and endangering their reputation, all while still being responsive to customer needs.

3. “I am the Gatekeeper. Are you the Keymaster?” -Ghostbusters

There will be a lot of stakeholders for every project. Some are there to participate, some only to observe, and some will pop in at the last minute when you need them for a crucial element and then pop back out again. From the beginning, you need to know what role everyone will play so you can ask the right person the right questions. Having an understanding of the teams around you will also enable you to combine efforts and benefit from the experiences of other projects.

4. Priorities differ greatly.

You were hired to do social media as your sole contribution to the organization. The people you work with on a daily basis are juggling dozens of different projects and responsibilities. Be very clear what you need and when you need it so you don’t waste your team’s time. Once they know their deliverables, members can prioritize according to their own schedule. They’ll be more receptive to working with you in the future, so projects are more likely to get done on time.

5. Social media should be social.

In large organizations it’s often so daunting to produce and approve content that some marketing departments will just be satisfied they were able to get anything published at all. Your number one priority after actually getting content approved and published on time is to make sure it’s engaging.

Your job is not to publish information, but to tell a story. Let prospective customers know you have the tools and expertise to help them, and that you’re listening.

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