Inmillhouse will help you to define your goals. At times companies feel pressed to make a deeper commitment to social media, yet they haven’t identified their objectives. Do you want to drive and monetize traffic to a website? Enhance reputation? Get the attention of influentials? Each will inform a different set of metrics.

A company also should address how employees may use social media as it concerns the company. These types of policies should cover, at a minimum: 
  • which employees may speak on the company’s behalf;
  • what types of communications employees may make; and
  • how and when an employee must obtain approval before speaking for the company.

Although several laws restrict how employers may address these areas (as noted below), there are certain types of conduct that employers may prohibit in almost any situation. Specifically, a private sector may maintain a policy that, at a minimum, prohibits an employee from: 
  • indicating that the employee is speaking for the company when the company has not authorized the employee to do so; 
  • making statements that would create a hostile work environment or otherwise constitute discrimination; 
  • making intentionally false statements;
  • disclosing proprietary information; and 
  • using social media during working time. If your company does not already maintain a policy that restricts these types of activities, it should do so as soon as practicable; if you wait until after an employee has made a legally protected communication, it may be unlawful to implement a restriction in response to that protected communication.

Start by listening. Sure, you’re already using tools to monitor the conversation if your brand is being discussed. What if it’s off the social radar? There are relevant industry issues, trends or competitive activity that can help inform a strategy. Sometimes what you learn can even translate into quick visibility. A Google Alerts for your industry’s hot topics can help identify the right bloggers and media, and it might also let you jump on breaking news with your own commentary or content.

Join the conversation. Even if you have a robust content marketing program, one of the easiest ways to attract more views is to become a member of relevant online communities. All it takes is time and continuity.

Optimize your PR content. Don’t forget to enhance press releases. Use more video and images; it serves two needs by being more searchable and more compelling to journalists and bloggers.

Build new relationships with social platforms. Twitter, with its liberal follow model, is unbeatable as a social tool for reaching influential media and analysts. Check out Muck Rack, which organizes all journalists on Twitter into “beats,” build your own lists, or join relevant Twibes to engage users. You can also use relevant LinkedIn discussion groups, or start your own.

Create more content. Of course, creating content is where many programs stall. If a corporate opinion blog is too much to take on, consider aggregating industry trends or issues once a week, linking and giving credit to other sources. Or, set a goal of commenting weekly on industry blogs. If that’s too much, arrange to guest blog for a trade publication or content site on a regular basis.

Reuse, recycle, repurpose. Remember that an industry speech can be easily converted to a bylined article for a trade or business publication, which can then be republished as a blog post. In some cases, all you need do is shorten or reformat, and add a topical lead.

Anticipate feedback. The “command and control” messaging days are gone. Socialized news announcements and content will attract public feedback. Have a plan for responding to engaged users, and be ready with a fully “socialized” issues and crisis plan if your brand is vulnerable.