Matter Chatter

A Tale of Two Social Media Plans

It’s no surprise that at Matter, we have a lot of clients embracing social media. However, what’s interesting is the way these clients go about integrating it into their communications strategies. Over the past few months, I’ve been involved with discussions about how to best go about leveraging corporate blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with two separate clients, and they have very different approaches, both equally valid and interesting.

The first client has a very grassroots outlook on social media. Rather than living by a set of stringent rules, we know what we can and can’t say, and we don’t ever post anything questionable. Our focus right now is to use social media as a platform for educating, answering customer questions and handling the occasional product or shipping issue. Over time, we plan to add more structure to the program, but our efforts thus far have been appreciated and encouraged by our followers and fans.

The second client has been engaged in social media initiatives for a while now, and has even integrated elements into its annual customer conference. We’re currently expanding the program and our client contact is putting together a set of rules and guidelines for other members of the organization who want to participate. As I was reviewing this plan recently, it really struck me not only how different the two social media methods are, but also how equally effective they both are.

What also struck me was the different levels of “maturity” (for lack of a better word) of the two programs. The more structured program has been in practice longer, while the more casual one has just been initiated. My prediction is that over time, the more casual program will become more structured as the number of our fans and followers grows. But we have to be mindful not to over-engineer the programs, because if we do, we run the risk of ruining trusted and effective methods for reaching end-users.

What are your opinions on social media program structures? Do you prefer a set of rules, or would you rather use loose guidelines for social media outreach? What do you think end-users prefer?