Michael Brito shared some research yesterday by Altimeter looking at how we manage our social media strategies.  The report, called A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation has some interesting insight and I recommend reading Michael's summary of it.  The point that stood out for me however is the sheer number of accounts the average large company has.  It comes to a whopping 178.  Yes, you read that correctly, 178 different social media accounts!!  Michael provided a breakdown of how these are spread across the various platforms below.

build it and prey approach to social media

I wrote recently about the value in having a portfolio of your communities to avoid what Michael terms as a landgrab of social media properties, with little overarching strategy or control.  This simple portfolio document shows the purpose of each community, who created it, the resources used so far and so on.

Here are 5 ways you can tell if you have a build it and pray approach to social media.

5 ways to tell if you have a build it and pray approach to social media

  1. No executive control – Whilst the tactical element of social media should not be decided at board level, the strategic purpose of your social media should have board representation.
  2. No control is exerted when accounts are created – Lots of people think they want a social media account for their department or to help their work.  They might be right, but it's much better to thrash out with these people what their purpose is for the account and how they intend to achieve that before the account is created.
  3. Ongoing training and support is not provided – Social media is a long-term endeavour.  If an account is created and then you leave people to it you have a build it and pray approach.  To buck this you need to provide regular training and support to ensure your people have the skills and resources they need to build effective communities.
  4. There is no reporting – If you have lots of accounts setup and the account owners don't report to you on their progress, you have a build it and pray culture.  Go back to #2, define the purpose of each community, and then judge success based upon that.  If you feel that things can be turned around on a poorly performing account, go back to #3 and provide better training and support.  If you don't feel things can be turned around, go to #5
  5. Accounts aren't pruned – Having a social media presence with tumbleweed blowing through it is worse than having none at all.  If you've created a portfolio of your communities and are reporting on the success of those against their objectives then you can easily see which are working and which aren't.  If a community is not working and you feel it cannot be turned around, then get rid of it.

These are 5 tell tale signs that you have a build it and pray approach and some steps you can take to avoid falling into that trap.