Define Your Goals for Social Media

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    What do you want out of social media?

    Every successful voyage needs a defined goal that justifies the inherent risks. Similarly, when embarking on using social media to bolster crisis management, your organization must establish specific goals. These goals can be social, economic and political in nature.

    In the course of our practice we have encountered companies that are using social media without having taken the time to integrate social media into their strategic goals. This approach is bound to result in a less than satisfactory outcome because the use of social media must be in alignment with relevant business objectives.

    This quote, from a Disaster Recovery Journal blog post by Gideon For-mukwai, should be mandatory reading for every exec hatching a social media plan. While it is vitally important for businesses to have a social media presence, blindly stepping out there will often lead to frustration and wasted money.

    Now, we’re not saying that you need a ten-page plan for this, not at all. What you do need is to sit down with your organization’s leadership and determine your goals as far as social media goes. A typical list might read:

    1. Improve customer service
    2. Protect our reputation from negative conversation
    3. Marketing new products or services

    With your priorities straight, you can determine how to accomplish your goals. On this list customer service is number one, so you would likely want to designate specific employees to monitor and respond to direct messages and mentions of your organization. Although obviously things can get as complex as you want, this is plenty to get a solid start.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]