Getting effective on social

Six more lessons from corporate social media accounts


Over the last 18 months I have been undertaking social media reviews for organisations, assessing their accounts to see how beneficial they really are to the organisations' desired corporate communication outcomes.

During this process, I’ve gained insight into how best to approach social media for organisations. I already shared half a dozen of those lessons in a previous piece for Communication Director. Now, here are six more:

1. A social media account is for life, not just for Christmas

Don't get me wrong, I have never been a fan of the ‘one account to rule them all’ approach for an organisation. Front line accounts are very often where the great stories lie. But too often the amount of time it takes to run these accounts well is underestimated. With plenty of content and enthusiasm it’s easy in the early days. But how will they fare 18 months down the track?

That’s when running the account can become harder and more time consuming. If you want to run an organisational account you have to be passionate, creative and committed to it. All of the time.

2. Five core characteristics of a great social account...

My reviews have convinced me that there are five main characteristics and requirements which need to be in place to deliver a great social media account:

  • personal skills
  • interesting content
  • the opportunity for plentiful material
  • adequate time given over to account management. Daily.
  • sound objectives, regular reviews and meaningful evaluation (which all flow from a simple, effective plan).

3. Four barriers to effective social media – the four Ts

When I survey teams about the biggest barriers to delivering great social media accounts and activity the “big four” almost always rear their heads: time, training, trust and tech.

If any one of these four elements are missing from an account then it won’t achieve its true potential.

4. “New accounts” versus “established accounts”

It’s essential to have a business case for your staff to complete when they approach you to open a new account (assuming they do ask you, of course).

We should always keep an open mind initially and take a look at the pros and cons of said new account.

It takes an age to build a big following and an engaged audience on social media so the chances that an all new account with zero followers is a better bet than using the corporate page with 50k likes will take some arguing. It should never be an instant no but equally it should never be an instant yes.

The final decision on whether a new account gets the go ahead or not should always, always sit with the head of communications. Write that in your social media guidelines – it could save you some valuable time in future discussions on the subject of new accounts.

5. Pssst. Passwords.

This is really important. Do you in the central communications teams have all of the passwords for every organisational account?

Eek. Thought not, You’re not alone but get hold of them and quickly.

This isn’t about being all big brother, it's simple good governance and sensible risk management in the event of something going wrong, a member of staff leaving or, worse still, going rogue.

6. Innovation – we’re not done with you yet

I believe that it’s in social media where we’ve seen most innovation and experimentation in communications over the past few years. But innovation isn’t just about trying to get down with the kids and opening a new Snapchat account.

Delving deeper into the analytics, using social media on a more strategic level, the smart and creative use of hashtags, and understanding what content gets most engagement from our followers – these are the areas where we communicators can innovate further.

A version of this piece originally appeared on as “I reviewed 500 social media accounts – want to know what I learned?”

Follow Darren @darrencaveney and @comms2point0