“You can’t suddenly say, ‘You know what? We’re going to get the receptionist to do a little bit of this in his or her spare time,’” says Craig. “Because otherwise, as soon as they get busy with their real responsibilities, [social media] will fall off.”
Peter Hedger Jr., director of marketing and communications at Magnum Venus Products (MVP), agrees, noting that MVP has found success dividing responsibilities for various social media platforms among its team. Hedger maximizes his department’s strengths by letting different people control different platforms where they have the most comfort and expertise. While other staff in his department handle Twitter and Facebook, he manages LinkedIn.
“A good strategy is utilizing everybody in the company to promote a similar message throughout all of the different social media outlets rather than trying to do that on my own,” says Hedger. As a result, MVP gets the most out of each platform without having staff spread too thin.
Another good strategy, he says, is to have a “promotional mix” of social and print media. A common misperception is that if a business starts using social media, there is no need for print media. Hedger says ignoring one particular medium could cause a company to lose the opportunity to reach its full advertising potential. MVP’s strategy is tailored to reach a wide range of potential customers who all consume content differently. For example, millennials might respond well to short videos, whereas older generations may respond better to print advertising. The key, he says, is to ensure message consistency across all platforms.
Making messages consistent does not mean using each platform the same way. According to Barry Myers, marketing manager at Strongwell, posts about community involvement resonate well on Facebook, whereas customers look to LinkedIn to see which companies are respected as experts in their industry.
Hedger says that using social media to establish expertise is the best way to grow brand authority and influence. He notes, however, that there’s a difference between informing and educating that businesses should be cognizant of when creating their social media strategies.
“You can’t put the cart before the horse in the education track,” says Hedger. “You’ve got to establish [your company] as a renowned expert in the field. Once you get people locked into an education stream, you can begin to feed them information.”
For example, as a leader in pultrusion, Strongwell will often post their own in-house technical information about the pultrusion process and how it works. The company will also post external media that conveys its pultrusion expertise, such as the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Made in Virginia” video series, which featured an episode on Strongwell, its history and manufacturing innovation.