Transform Personal Social Media Talent to Business Social Media Talent

02/25/2014 03:24 pm ET Updated Apr 27, 2014

It's time to transform your personal skills on social media so that they can be translated into actionable business social media skills. As you know, there are many people who use social media on a personal level. They use them so much that they begin to think they are a professional on social media. This drives me crazy. Why? Because the business reasons for a company using social media are far more complex than an individual using social for themselves. Simply put, businesses have strategies and goals for social, people don't.

Is Personal Social Media Talent Really Working For Businesses?

The social media content that is being published for companies by their rookie social media staff is typically news, events, rants and raves with a small percentage of high-quality brand activated content. Although the quality of social content and user engagement is on the rise, the overall brand usage of social media is really only informing and developing a low level of engagement. So, Is personal social media talent really working for businesses? I ask the question because companies probably don't have a great strategy in place, or even one at all. Social channels are being thought about as an outbound channel and not being filtered through a strategy that requires concepts like persona, sales funnel, customer path, goals, CTAs and measurement to be considered before a post is submitted.

Here's an example: When you see a Facebook, twitter or Instagram post from your friend, what are they communicating? Usually it's something like this. "Look what I have done" or "I'm here on vacation," "I just bought new shoes," "I'm here at the restaurant having dinner with friends." This type of social banter may be fine for people like you and me with our friends, but it's not good for businesses that are trying to be credible, profitable and sustainable.

Businesses Have A Complex Social Eco-System

When a business chooses to use social media as a tool for marketing, they are doing this to get results. After all, according to socialmediatoday, the top reasons B2B and B2C brands listed for using social media are for business exposure, to increase traffic and for marketplace insights. Businesses have a complex social eco-system which employees, customers, partners, media and prospective customers communicate. This eco-system is constantly moving. It's like a living, breathing organism. The constituents could possibly affect the others when a message or post is written without the filter of brand compliancy and, or the vision of a social media strategy for guidance. When an individual doesn't develop their personal social media talent to the level of which businesses expect, the employees lack of knowledge can get the company in hot water in which your legal department may have to come save you. Here are a few PR disaster examples that may shock you.

Social Irresponsibility

Do you really want a person on your staff that doesn't see through the eyes of social media best practice handling your global reaching marketing? I think not. Social media reaches people far and wide, more than any other media channel in history. Take a look, it's not my opinion it's fact. With the right plan in place, you will be able to transform your social media staff to social media gurus.

From Abusers To Savvy Users

Here are 9 questions for you to ask yourself so that you can implement the social media planning process to move the brand from where it is now to where you want to go. By answering these, you will have a clearer direction for how to leverage social media. As a result, hopefully your company will have fewer personal social media disasters because you answered these very important questions. Recognizing these will help take your social media staff from social media abusers to savvy business users.

9 Questions To Get You Started

• What is the goal of using social media for your brand?
• What are your target personas that are most important? Be Specific.
• What social media channels is your company using? Why?
• What are the strengths of those channels?
• What social media channel works best to communicate to your personas?
• What messages do you want to put in front of your customers and why?
• What part of the sales funnel is the social post intended? (Top / Middle / Bottom)
• What is the goal of each social media channel in each stage of the funnel?
• What action do you want the customer to take when they receive your social media post?
Write a call-to-action (CTA)

With a simple 9 question introductory phase in place, this will get you started so that you don't play the game of social media Russian roulette with your brand.

Real-Time, Consumer Generated Content

Social media is not easy. In fact, it's probably the hardest of all marketing activities because it requires speed, transparency, high level thought, instant interaction and knowledge of a consumer path to name a few. Social media also requires marketers to continually research and compare the latest social media channels as well as the latest features on the channels you are currently using. Social media can be highly successful for your brand if you address it in a more strategic way. If I applied my personal social media habits to my business requirements for social media, I would fail miserably every time I posted and as a result engagement would be very low. The questions above give your marketing staff a fighting chance in the world of real-time, consumer generated content called social media. Today's social media for business can be very challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun once you transform your personal users to business users.