So, one of the biggest challenges companies have with using Social Media to further marketing objectives is: the loss of control. This is a very legitimate concern. From what I have seen in working with companies ranging from start-ups & high-growth companies, to even some of the largest companies in the world, I see two common themes as it relates to Social Media Marketing:

Small companies don’t know what to do. Many:

– Do nothing

– Execute ad hoc social media activities, which lead to no results

Large enterprises

– Train employees on Social Media

–Encourage employees to participate, with no controls or guidance

–Open their company up to liability and risk

–Create chaos and waste time

–Do not create processes to measure results & ROI

For all of these issues, one problem is the main driver: No systems exist that address how businesses leverage social media in an organized fashion to further their business goals.

The point of this blog post is to clearly – with my fist slamming down on the table – state: your organization needs to adopt a system of social media to be successful. This is different than a Social Media Plan. The social media system should in fact be embedded into the Social Media Plan. Below are some of the key elements.

Community Orchestrator

Every company that wants to successfully engage in Social Media, needs what I’ll call a Community Orchestrator; sometimes called an Online Community Manager or Social Media Strategist (with large organizations you may have deeper layers of staff, including both of these titles).

The role of the Community Orchestrator is simple: Control the chaos of Social Media! This does not mean that one person controls all of the content & online conversations that occur through your company. Rather, this person provides the guidance as to where people at the company should engage and what messages they should be using.  They should then track and report on program progress.

Authentic Engagement with Real People

The reason you should never hire a writer to blog for you – or use anyone else at your company to blog on your behalf, is because the cornerstone pillar of social media is rooted in its authenticity. The fact that you can now engage with someone at a company online that is behind, under or over the branding & messaging police is extremely important.

So, you need to lay the framework out including how you as a business leader not only implement – but embrace a social media marketing strategy. The key components of this system include a Community Orchestrator, and a team of trusted and smart individuals at your company who can be guided in their online social media engagement.

This is an introduction to a system that will allow you to control the chaos of social media. You will have peace-of-mind knowing that efforts are being managed and coordinated by one person (or potentially a team of people for large organizations) – and that all efforts will be aligned with corporate marketing objectives.

The beauty of this approach is it provides the best of both worlds: control over the corporate marketing program, even through social media; and real authentic engagement with online influencers, readers, and important online communities.

One very important issue that needs to be addressed – most Community Orchestrators are in marketing and need to tap into resources that are outside of marketing … So – how do you manage resources cross-functionally at the division and corporate level? Hmmmmm – this is a big issue that can make or break a Social Media Plan that I don’t think has been addressed yet. We’ll discuss more later.

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— Brad T. Rutledge