Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Kevin Magee, Director of Sales at Expion, a client of Social Media Explorer.

Social Compliance. Funny how the combination of those two words – social and compliance – can strike fear in the heart of CTOs, CMOs and other C-level executives within a large enterprise.

The conversation typically begins like this: “LinkedIn? Well, okay … let’s create a profile. Aren’t our employees posting theirs to find better jobs, anyway?” It continues with: “Facebook? No, too dangerous. I barely trust my teenager with Facebook – let alone the marketing department.” Followed up by: “Twitter? Are you serious? [Incredulous laughter]. Remember the Chrysler F-bomb tweets? Why would we want to do that?”

Justice

Image by m.gifford via Flickr

It’s the headline-grabbing OMGs and the potential for horrific consequences like lost market-share, shareholder hearings and brand devaluation that make expansion in social channels such an arduous process for regulated and compliance-sensitive companies. It doesn’t matter that consumers, potential partners and shareholders often forget about the social media scandals in a nanosecond – typically, because there’s another company committing another blunder – the challenges inherent for large enterprises attempting to “go social” are real.

But regulated and compliance-sensitive companies have figured out how to control the message in traditional mediums like TV, print and radio, so why should they abandon the existing marketing structures, processes and procedures when it comes to social? Although some of the tactics may be different, large enterprises can benefit from structuring the approach to social media like they would every other program within the organization.  The key to success is to avoid the following three big mistakes:

Mistake #1.

Putting social media in a silo. Positioning social outside of the normal marketing workflow and approval process means that social marketing efforts are not integrated within the organization. That will make it difficult to monitor and evaluate. Set social campaigns up for success by using the company’s proven processes.

Mistake #2.

Hiring a social media NINJA/EXPERT/ASSASIN just because they have SOCIAL on their resume. An enterprise may not need a dedicated social media strategist from the onset – and I can guarantee that there’s no need to hire someone with a title like that. A better strategy would be to search for strong players already on the team that understand social and see how much additional responsibility they can handle (without disrupting their core responsibilities). Senior executives can even consider allocating extra budget to this A-Team to be sure that they are incentivized; this lays the groundwork for establishing a formal budget for a potential hire long-term.

Mistake #3.

Not understanding how and why social media impacts the company’s core business objectives. Social media matters for EVERY business; it is evolving into one of the most useful and cost-effective customer engagement channels available – and will be, for the foreseeable future. That teenager texting and Facebook’ing? She’s the future customer – no matter the industry. She is the customer that the company will want, and if the organization doesn’t try to understand how to reach her effectively now, there will be no way to compete down the line.

Avoiding these mistakes is crucial for all companies – startups and more nimble organizations likely know this. But I’m not sure that regulated and compliance-sensitive companies get it … yet. The next goal is to make sure that the strategies and tactics for engaging clients via this “new” marketing channel are integrated within the organization as seamlessly as possible. I’ll share some thoughts on how to best do that in the next column.

About the Guest Author:  Kevin Magee is the Director of Sales for Expion and has been instrumental in helping the company grow its client base. He brings nearly two decades of enterprise sales, management and marketing experience to the team, including P&L responsibility and strategic development. Expion’s  software manages thousands of business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and beyond.  Its centralized platform empowers customers to localize and align their social marketing efforts.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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