When you decide to add social media to your company’s strategy, here are some things to think through!

1. Don’t say If we will do social media, but When we do Social Media. “If” implies that you are thinking, “when” empowers people to do something!
2. State your intention. This is why Technology companies announce ahead of time of delivery of the product a roadmap. Be vocal about your Social Vision — perhaps to your team or a cross brand team.
3. Understand your goal. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there! Is your goal new customers? Better support? New product requirements? Make sure you know your goals before you kick off a social media planning!
4. Collaborative Social Media Plan. Step 1 for me is to set up a Social Media Council. I did this at with my IBM SOA team. We had a cross functional team that brought forward case studies, ideas, and passion. This council for me was a virtual group. The council can assist in setting the roadmap!
5. Be students of the game. Learn daily. Post best practices of social media in a WIKI or an internal blog. Mistakes should be expected! Experimentation in Social Media is easy and a way to learn! Experimentation is good (and necessary) but remember that it’s a scientific process – you should have an expected outcome/framework!
6. Listen! You need to be listening to conversations! I just did a presentation with Maggie Fox. I loved her quote of “DON’T ignore negative chatter – it matters, and things move quickly”. If you don’t listen, you will miss 50% of the value of social media!
7. Approach End to End! Approach things from a holistic perspective .. you want to make sure your brand is viewed end to end. That it constantly supports your vision and your goals. For example, a message on LinkedIn and Twitter needs to be the consistent .. perhaps even in your taglines, and naming of your group.
8. Solicit your customers to be your “brand army” of enthusiasts that make your success their cause. We had customers post videos to YouTube on why they loved our products. They became our advocates. RackSpace does an amazing job of this as well! Acknowledge and harness their goodwill to generate insight and return on your investment. For example, we took those videos that our clients did and learned how they discussed our products and used those words to talk to other potential clients.
9. Hybrid Rocks. Don’t forget this is about leveraging social media to supplement your real-world events and experiences. Face to face is still the most meaningful interaction!
10. Digital crisis plan. Have a digital crisis communications plan – being caught flat-footed can do lasting damage. You need to move super fast in this new world be ready. Example of Domino’s Pizza who had employees post pictures of employees sticking cheese in their nose before they put it on a sandwich. Domino needed to move fast!