Approaching social media from a business perspective

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— Adam Thorndike is the digital PR manager at Lava, an award-winning marketing agency based in Lincoln. In an expert comment series for The Lincolnite, Lava share their tips and advice on all things marketing and PR.

Ask yourself this: if you were choosing an accountant, would you pick someone for their credentials, or simply on the fact that you were told they could do the job?

Many businesses fall into the latter category when allocating the responsibility of managing social media. As an ever-evolving specialty, gaining credentials in Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube, for example, would no doubt be outdated within a matter of months – the countless books offering advice certainly seem to suffer the same fate.

So what do businesses do when looking to hire someone to assist them with their social media activity? The answer lies in identifying the skills you would look for when hiring a PR agency, designer and/or copywriter – social media requires all these skills, and more.

No longer just an extension of most people’s businesses, social media has now become a discipline that requires a diverse skill set to deliver a comprehensive strategy built around specific metrics.

Social media was the buzz term in the business world a few years ago, but now its value to business activities has been realised. In the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, it was revealed that 83% of businesses see social media playing a fundamental role in their company over the next 12 months.

The Charted Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) agrees that businesses need clearly defined goals and outcomes for social media that can be meaningfully allocated to business functions, and measured using relevant metrics that span a number of clearly defined (and predefined) goals.

Being able to address these key findings requires a team of professionals to help deliver results that compliment other intangible assets contributing to organisational success.

With the need to implement multiple skills sets to fully utilise the many benefits of social media, isn’t it time that you dealt with social media as you would other areas of your business?

Social media can seem daunting and easier to avoid than embrace, but mapping out a strategy and engaging with customers online can help deliver real results, especially in these tough economic times.

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