You’re the entire social media marketing team. Now what?

Follow this 6-step protocol to maximize your online branding and networking efforts.

You are not looking to hire a social media company. And you’re definitely not interested in reading about the 50+ questions we think you should ask if you were. Why? Because you are your company’s social media marketing team. Whether you fought for this assignment (are you insane?) or your boss simply plopped you into the role, being the front person for your company’s social media success or failure can be a little daunting. Especially if you’re not sure where to start and your boss expected 10,000 new followers by yesterday. If this sounds like you and if you’ve been appointed to the role of social media marketing team (because, really, why would that ever require more than one person?) below is a checklist to help talk you off the ledge and on to social media victory. 1. Understand the company’s social media goals. You’ve been put in charge of managing your company’s social media efforts. Great, but why? What is it your company is trying to achieve through its social media activity? Is it increased brand recognition? Links? Search traffic for new keyword opportunities? Improving sentiment? If you don’t know, ask. And if those you ask don’t know, congratulations, it’s up to you to find opportunities for your brand to dominate. Either way, have a purpose for participating. Don’t just enter blindly. People lose entire lives on Twitter that way. 2. Make sure you’re social-media-ready. What social media does is amplify your brand. If your brand is awesome, then this is fantastic because it will enable you to spread that message more quickly and to a larger audience. However, if you suck, then social media will spread “you suck” more quickly and to a larger audience. So you want to clean up what you can before you go introducing yourself as the belle of the ball. Identify your customer’s biggest complaints, and see whether you can knock some of them off your to-do list before you fully announce your social media presence. Because, again, if you suck, social media will just make you suck louder than before. Ask Comcast. 3. Define your social media plan. Before you take a step into social media, you want to put together your social media plan to help guide your course. This plan will take into account your internal resources, your goals for social media, any rules for participating and the specific movements you will make to help you see ROI. Essentially, it will be your blueprint for everything else you’ll do after. If you haven’t read our post on creating your social media plan, it really does lay out a completely foolproof way to make sure you’re taking the correct steps. I’d encourage you to give a read. Then print it out, and sleep with it under your pillow. 4. Create metrics and goals. As part of your social media plan you’ll need to create metrics and goals. What are you trying to accomplish, and what are the signs along the way that will let you know that you’ve gotten there? Not only with this help to keep you on track with your participation, but it will also give you something to show to people in your organization who may still need convincing that social media does not equal playing around online. Social media is people—the people who buy from your business. Help others to see that by creating checkmarks and crossing them off your list as you go. 5. Anoint social media ambassadors. You may have been the person officially anointed as the social media god(dess), but social media can’t rely on just one person (or deity). You need to build an army of social media ambassadors within your organization to be its voice and to help turn the rest of your team into advocates and make them want to get on board. These people will be responsible for integrating social media into existing processes and meeting with other team leaders to discuss how social media can be better used in their division (whether its sales, content, PR, etc.) to ensure it’s not locked away and never heard from again. Or so that guy on the front lines of your brand doesn’t look totally puzzled when someone mentions your Twitter account while giving blood. Ambassadors should also work to empower others to get involved in social media and win over resistors inside the organization. This may include offering training to help employees become more comfortable using these social media tools by educating them on their use, creating an employee social media policy for them to lean on, and recognizing people who do it right. 6. Celebrate social media victories. Though self-promotion can make even the best of us a little queasy, get good at singing your company’s social media praises when you’ve met goals. Doing this not only will show people the value that social media can bring to the organization, but it also reenergizes people to keep pulling on the same end of the rope. Don’t just recognize the achievement; also recognize the people who helped make it happen. Maybe it’s the copywriter who finally placed those social calls to action in her copy or the salesperson for working common complaints identified via social media into his pitch. Being responsible for your company’s in-house social media efforts can be a little daunting, especially if you’re not given the respect you deserve for the job. However, stick to the workflow above, use those social media ambassadors, and pretty soon it’ll be nothing but social media victory circulating through your company’s walls. Lisa Barone is the chief branding officer of Outspoken Media . She’s also very active on Twitter, much to the dismay of the rest of the world. Connect with Lisa on Google+ and Facebook .

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