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May 03

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Discipline: The Best Practice We Don’t Stress Enough

Self-Disciplineby Caitlin Moore

If you follow our various social media channels you will find numerous tricks, tips and sound practices to help you at any stage in your business’ social media venture. However, one of the most important, and quite possibly overlooked, points we cannot stress enough is this: Discipline.

We have heard it many times:

“We didn’t realize how much work went into social media.”

This is a good sign. Why? Because it means businesses are finally beginning to grasp the amount of commitment, organization, persistence, focus and evolution it takes to not only gain momentum on social media, but also to maintain it.

Set the Tone and  Develop a Strong Foundation

The disciplinary tone for social media success is set by the organization’s leaders. As a leader, you must communicate to your team that social media engagement is both a priority and a necessity to your firm’s success.

  • Establish goals and objectives that are reasonable for your allocated time commitment to social media.
  • Allocate any necessary financial and human resources to create and/or maintain your business’ platforms.

In addition, closely administering these efforts is important to measuring your current and future success. Establishing solid ground rules for the following will help you properly analyze your strategy.

  • Identify a core team and any supporting roles: think of who will be creating your graphics, copy or who will be working to capture any necessary photography
  • Clearly define these roles, their responsibilities and their backups: Who responds to what? A mutual, publicly accessed task list is a good place to get started to help create accountability; particularly important for time-sensitive content. It is equally important to establish a backup person for certain roles in the case of absence for any reason.
  • Create action plans/editorial calendars: but don’t get too tied down to them if something changes. Sometimes it will better serve you to hop on a trending topic, or avoid planned posts if they might reflect insensitivity during crises. A general guideline is a great way to stay on track and helps to monitor successful practices for your business.
  • Establish your rules of engagement and clearly communicate them to the team regularly: this encompasses who to follow, comment to, how we prefer to comment, policies for certain topics, what is deemed safe to post, type of language or tone to use, etc. These rules should reflect many of your policies for human resources and the principles of your business’ mission statement.

Assuming you have assembled a skilled team, make sure they are all comfortable within their given roles and consider additional training for any inconsistencies.

Implementation of The Plan Should Include Phases

We have mentioned before that successful social media campaigns do not move along a static timeframe. You may find that in the beginning, adding better photos leads to more engagement. Over time and several of the same posts later, your engagement is down. Now is the time to sit down with your team and discuss your options. What have they noticed performing well with similar businesses’ social media? How can we hone in on our audience better? What is going to get us in front of them again?
Be prepared for these days of failure. Having them is a good indication of bad habits that you should axe or to a new avenue you need to be taking. Breaking through into the next phase of social media success can be a long process if you are trying to reach your target audience organically. (There are many ways to do this through haphazard advertising, but that is topic for discussion another day. Not you my friend, because you are smarter than that). Most importantly, everyone must be committed to continuous learning, growth and adaptation.

They must display discipline to stay on top of trends and emotional stability when they encounter such failures.

  • Be able to overlook minor flaws and imperfections such as typos. Don’t get caught up on perfectionism.
  • Think before you act! If you have to ask yourself twice if something is safe to post, odds are it is not a good choice. Ask someone else on your team for their opinion or leave it well enough alone.
  • CONTROL your emotions: people say weird/inappropriate/negative things on the internet all day. With the popularity of social media, those thoughts and opinions are expressed globally every second of the day. Your team should be able to control their emotions in situations where these types of engagements arise.  Enact a protocol for getting these comments off of your social media and managed appropriately.

MOST IMPORTANT of ALL OF THE LESSONS WE CAN TEACH YOU is to stay disciplined and keep posting – whatever the channel may be. Consistency is crucial to building your momentum and to maintaining it. We have witnessed pages completely fall off after experiencing a great campaign, as if that was all they had to do and now their success means they no longer have to try. Whether it was lack of a real action plan or of physical labor to keep up the momentum, it is easy to lose your audience if you do not engage them in the first place. This applies to any and all phases of your social media, for as long as you should keep them. You can always decide to ditch a channel later if you decide it is not one that serves your business well. In any case: your audience should know fully well in advance your plans to lose the channel. (If they respond to you with loud shouts in opposition, you should seriously reevaluate the impact of this choice).

Cheers to your success!

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