D stands for DISTRIBUTE. Why? Because social media should not be \u201eowned\u201f by one person, but spread
throughout an organisation. Your people are your best asset, truly. They\u201fre closer to your products, brands,
customers and issues. Encourage them to get involved, and share the workload.
E stands for ENGAGE. We know that an engaged customer is a far more valuable one. They\u201fll tell you what
you need to know. They\u201fll tend to buy from you again, and more frequently. And they\u201fll be more likely to refer
your brand to their friends. Customer engagement and social media go hand in hand.
F stands for FEEDS. You can use feeds to power your social media presence, as we do on Twitter (which
sucks in headlines from our blog viaTwit t erf eed). You should also use them to monitor your key brand terms
G stands for GOOGLEJUICE. Some people aren\u201ft sure about the effects of social media on search. They
doubt social media can have any tangible effect on search results. Take it from me: they\u201fre wrong. Why?
Because articles featured prominently on social media sites are likely to be picked up elsewhere (good for
traffic, great for inbound links). Consider what happens when one of your stories hits the Digg frontpage: sure,
you pull in big traffic from Digg itself, but you also tend to accumulate links from dozens of other sites.
H stands for HONESTY. This follows on from A. No pulling the wool please. The days of old school PR spin
are coming to a close, and if you\u201fre active on these networks then it\u201fs best to hold up your hands and admit
errors or lapse of judgement, as and when they arise. It happens. We\u201fre HUMAN, after all.
I stands for INTERACT. Well what else was it going to be? If you try firing out one-way messages on the
social media sites then you\u201fll soon know about it. You must get involved with your audience, your community,
your user base, your fans. Make sure they know they\u201fre being listened to, and they\u201fll participate more often.
The flipside is that if you IGNORE them they will pay little interest / take it personally / move on.
J stands for JOIN. There\u201fs no point standing on the sidelines, and hey, you need those social media profiles,
even if you\u201fre not immediately planning on using them. Take the lead. Sign up. And make sure you do plenty of
reading and research before you jump in. Line up your ducks, then start shooting. There are tools than can
help you check whether your brand names are available on the social sites.
K stands for KILLER CONTENT. If there\u201fs one thing that works, it is quality content. Cream rises to the top.
Five years ago it was all about Google, but now it\u201fs about recommendations, referrals and retweets (all of
which can underpin your Google rankings). Make the most of it. Content remains king.
L stands for LISTEN. As mentioned in F you need some feeds set up to track what\u201fs being said about your
brands online. There are various free tools to let you monitor your reputation, the needs of your customers, and
what\u201fs being said about your competitors. You also need to listen to people at an individual level, and to
respond to them. Social sites help people to cosy up to your brand, and if you\u201fre actively encouraging that (by
being there) then it\u201fs best not to kick them out of bed when they want some attention.
M stands for MEASURE. Because how else are you going to know if this whole social media malarkey works.
I wrote a post called \u201f10 ways to measure social media success\u201f, which will help you see the bigger
picture. Measuring the detail is one thing, but it is worth considering how a social media strategy can improve
your overall business at a macro level.
N stands for NETWORK. Let\u201fs step back for a moment and remember that sites like Twitter and Digg are
essentially networking sites. People are connected. This means that you can wade into the fray and seek out
followers by participating in a wider conversation. Or by being retweeted. Or by actively following interesting
people who say interesting things. It also means that if you get it wrong, the network effect can massively
multiply your embarrassment, regardless of whether or not you're active on these sites. Keep this in
mind before you do a Ryanair.
O stands for ORGANISE. This is about defining a strategy, and then figuring out who is going to execute it.
And if you look again at D and then at R you\u201fll see that I don\u201ft really believe in a single social media
stakeholder. It's a team game. At Econsultancy we encourage people to get involved if they want to. There is
no social media dictator at this end.
P stands for POLICY. It could have been PARTICIPATION but that\u201fs kind of covered under the letter E and I.
So look, if you\u201fre going to do this in a smart way then it\u201fs best to set a few guidelines. Not rules, as such, but
helpful pointers. And look at Z if you want to see the best, most concise social media / Twitter policy you\u201fll ever
need to see.