Per Mar Security Services has assigned to individuals to manage the company's social media marketing. During the day, Marketing Communications Analyst Crystal Milburn (pictured) oversees the accounts. On weekends and holidays, Tim Smith, director of corporate support, handles social media. "We want to make that if a customer reaches out to us, the two of us are checking to give an end user answers to their questions," Smith says.
Do you think social media is irrelevant to growing your company’s footprint? Well, a few of your electronic security industry brethren beg to differ.
“Everyone wants instant gratification,” says Tim Smith, director of corporate support, Per Mar Security Services. “So, if companies want to continue to move forward and grow their businesses, they are going to have to put some resources toward social media. Without doing that, these companies are going to fall behind.”
Yikes! That’s a scary thought, right? But have no fear for those of you who have yet to get behind the social media marketing craze. SSI has come to your rescue, as the upcoming September issue provides some in-depth best practice tips for handling social media marketing. I spoke to more than a dozen industry professionals who are successfully managing their firms’ social networking, and I wasn’t able to squeeze all of the great information into the print article. Fortunately, that’s why we have the Under Surveillance blog. In the first installment in a series of three blogs, we’ll take a closer look at who executives should select to manage social networking.
After you have decided to take the plunge into social media marketing and the message you want your company to convey, it is crucial to choose someone who is passionate about social networking to manage your efforts. Otherwise your message will not ring true with followers, according to Provident Security President Mike Jagger.
“If it feels like a job or a pain in the butt, don’t do it,” he says. “If you’re not getting some value from it yourself, you shouldn’t fake it.”
The majority of companies I interviewed had between one or two people handling social media accounts. Additionally, they had a plan in place to determine what content to post. This is an excellent idea, according to Kristen Simmons, managing partner of the marketing firm Lightswitch, which consults businesses in various industries to improve customer experience.
“When you plan, you do a better a job at being consistent,” she says. “It also allows you to make sure that you don’t have the wrong mix of company-centered messages versus customer-centered messages. You really want your promotional messages to be a small percentage of what you’re putting out there.”
So what happens if your social media manager has unexpectedly gotten sick or is on vacation? Who will handle social networking for your company then?
Megan Ragan, marketing and graphic design consultant for Atronic Alarms, has trained some members of her team about social networking and makes sure that the appropriate employees have access to all the passwords for each social media account.
“If something were to happen to me, it would probably take them a month or so to get started, but my team would pick it up,” she says. “You just have to make sure that it will be easy for them to start doing it themselves.”
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the pesky element of time. For most electronic security contractors who already have a full plate, the last thing you want is to spend all your time managing social media sites. When I asked everyone how much time they spent managing these sites, times ranged from two hours a day to 50 hours a week (that large number comes from Vivint Social Media Manager Ian Bell who was hired exclusively to manage his company’s sites). However, you don’t have to do everything all at once, SDA Security Marketing Communications Coordinator Megan O’Neal told me.
“A large chunk of my time goes into it, but it’s spread out,” she says. “I might spend 15 minutes here or 15 minutes there because you have to space out the posts anyway. If you have five things one after another on any of the social sites, those messages will get lost.”
Be sure to check back next week when I’ll discuss building your social media fan base.
Ashley Willis | Associate Editor