Someone asked me yesterday in a meeting: how many times a day should my people be tweeting? He has been asked to provide his team’s plan for social media. He was having a hard time wrapping his head around what that meant as far as actual deliverables to expect from his reports, and what outcomes were actually expected of his team.
So he asked me: how many times a day should my reports tweet? How often should they blog?
He admitted that he didn’t get social media, but he knew he had to include an element of social media in his planning. In all fairness, he was looking out for his team. They are already oversubscribed on the content they need to produce – technical solutions marketing materials. In his mind, he’s trying to keep from adding another time consuming task to his team’s plate.
So we had a discussion, which I think was a little frustrating to someone who wanted to come out of the meeting with a simple checklist.
How do you “do” social media?
Is it possible to make a checklist? What activities should be on that checklist?
I think many times people equate social media with a set of tools. So they may have a checkbox on a marketing plan for social media, and to them that means they will send some tweets, add a post to Facebook and maybe a LinkedIn group, and write a blog. To me, this is not “doing” social media. This is using social media tools for corporate communication.
To me, doing social media is using all of the cool social media tools to build community. If you are using social media for marketing, the beauty of social media is that you can find your audiences and interact with directly with them. You audience is already engaged, perhaps even in a community about your product, on the social media tools we commonly think of using (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, etc). You can use these tools to find your audience, to deliver content, and to invite them to a different online meeting place, etc. You can get to know them as real people, and they will trust you enough to tell you what they really think about your services and products. The interaction part is what doing social media is all about.
What is the profile of the people on your team
This team is made up of customer facing SMEs. One of the goals is to make sure their expertise is known to our customers and partners. The individuals on this team really do need a social presence, but how can we get them there when their boss is already concerned about their available bandwidth?
This was easy to explain from a thought leadership perspective. I suggested that everyone on the team become Dell SMAC certified. Then they should follow a list of thought leaders on Twitter, and see how those folks engage and use social media tools to talk about storage topics. Spending a little time listening and interacting with the storage community with the goal of becoming part of that community is what should dictate how the individuals on the team use that tool.
I also suggested thinking of ways of integrating social media tasks into the normal work flow for his team. For instance, if a new solutions paper is released, that person also should tweet the link, write a blog post, work with my team to organize a Google Plus hangout or Twitter chat, etc. There should be a predictable pattern of events that happen with every project, so that the individuals can guarantee a slow drip-feed of good content to our external communities. This should be the bare minimum of involvement from his team members, the goal would be to find a few individuals who want to do even more.
So how many times a day should I tweet?
Even though the person I was meeting with is a solutions marketer, he still didn’t like it when I said “it depends”. Since he was making a list and metrics for his team, any number I gave to appease him would have been too high (you aren’t tweeting enough) or too low (why are you tweeting so much!!). He wanted to know to recognize tweeting success. Someone else on the call said “when they are having discussions with other well-known storage SMEs on Twitter”. I said, when other people tweet questions to your team members, you will know you they are successful.
I think in the end, he decided 2 tweets a week was a good number. Sigh. I guess #FF could count for one, right?
I offered my help to mentor and hand-hold the members of his team, and to introduce them online. I also reminded him that none of this is set in stone, and I’m looking forward to working with his team and seeing what ideas everyone else has.
How would you have answered this question – how many times a day should I tweet?