The social media audit: 5 common missing pieces

Head off potential setbacks by addressing these important but oft-overlooked components.

A social media audit is an eye-opening experience for any organization. Often it can uncover issues that, left unaddressed, would pose significant challenges for a company.

Many areas that need to be tackled are often commonly overlooked or are the missing pieces in a social media program. These pieces fall under the “I can’t believe we didn’t have that system in place” heading.

In my work with different companies and their various organizational teams—ranging from marketing and PR to legal and HR—these are the five most commonly overlooked pieces that I notice in social media programs:

1. Company policies

In many cases, organizations don’t realize that some company policies need to dovetail with social media policy. These include:

  • IT policies regarding downloaded content and mitigating network risk
  • HR policies that govern privacy protection
  • Marketing policies regarding brand guidelines

Examine your existing company policies, and notice how they can help guide your employees in social media communications.

2. The universal sharing system

We all know that social media is not the responsibility of just the communications department. Other areas of the company—sales, customer service, Web, HR, etc.—should use social media daily to reach out to customers.

Sometimes company departments need to coordinate social communications based on pivotal themes and annual events. It’s important to set up a system so that departments can coordinate content (rather than post similar information) to have a more cohesive and complementary system.

A calendar system housed on a collaborative internal platform and coordinated by one department (usually marketing or PR) will help get everyone working together to maximize the impact of a shared effort.

3. Process to set up social profiles

Process is often overlooked, because everyone gets busy with daily department work and resources are usually scarce. When everyone is in multitasking mode, there is a natural tendency to think someone else is handling a task.

Build social media profiles and pages with purpose. To do this, create a system that enables a core social media team to evaluate and, in some cases, approve new profiles and pages.

This management system also should develop a central place that houses all social media user names, passwords and Internet addresses (information often essential to the HR or legal team when a disgruntled employee leaves the company).

4. Social media archives system

Not having an archives system can lead to trouble, especially if your organization is bound by public record. Luckily, software that enables you to archive social media interactions is available, or you can use a technology monitoring service.

Be sure to ask your social media monitoring provider whether you can archive all posts and how often the process should be completed so that content is available, should your legal team ever need it.

5. Training and education

People adapt to social media communications on many different levels. Training and education are essential to all, from the nonparticipant to the content creators.

Keep your employees updated on the latest technology and resources, especially as social media evolves. The best time to begin the education and training process is at the start of your social media program.

Social media education and training are essential in motivating employees at every level to do their best. Plus, this preparation helps to underscore social media’s value, makes people feel included in the program and keeps them informed as the landscape changes.

Now you’ve got my five commonly missing social media pieces. Do you notice other overlooked areas that should be added to this list?

Deirdre Breakenridge is an author, entrepreneur and president of Mango! Marketing. She blogs at PR 2.0 Strategies.

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