I just returned from a Social Media Strategies Summit sponsored by GSMI in San Francisco. Interestingly, among all the discussion of tools, strategies, case histories and metrics, no one brought up the subject of how to deal with the added workload.
In my opinion, dealing with the demands of social media is a significant challenge for businesses of any size. This very valuable new communication resource can eat up a lot of time, time that you may not have. Especially if you spend too much time on TMZ or Comedy Central.
One solution that we have found to be quite successful is to form teams. At Roland DGA, we have created a team for Twitter, a team for Facebook, a team for blogging, a team for YouTube, and yet another team for LinkedIn and industry forums. Dividing up the responsibilities to monitor, respond and make announcements can ease the load on everyone. Even better as we have found, each individual brings a different personality style and opinion, leading to greater freshness.
There are a few important rules for this process. Whoever is participating for you, be sure that they understand your brand's voice, have a passion for your business and use care in their grammar. Check out this post on Mashable for a concise overview of social media guidelines.
This shared responsibility works well for a modest-sized business like us, but what to do if you're a one or two-man operation? Consider asking an employee or a spouse to assist you. Another possibility is to devote a specific time either before or after work to social media. Even 15 minutes a day can be extremely effective.
Whichever social medium(s) you choose to focus on should match your objectives as a business, is it primarily to learn from others, to promote and grow your business, to mitigate customer issues, or to socialize with your community?