A new job, a new challenge

Some big events in my life have taken place this year.

In June, I married the love of my life and, in July, we had the holiday of a lifetime in Tanzania. Earlier in the year, I’d been behind the launch of a new community platform – iwitness24 – for Archant (working with the great guys from Citizenside) and, on my return from my African honeymoon, I started another new job. That’s the third in a year.

All of those three roles have been to do with development so they’re pretty cool. And the new one poses possibly the biggest challenge of them all.

Since mid-July I have been Archant Anglia’s Social Media Manager and it has thrown up a crazy amount of challenges, some of which I will aim to share with you on this blog.

As a company, we have had it in the back of our mind that social media is something we should be not only focusing on but excelling at.

Yet, rather surprisingly, we have never had a properly-formed social media strategy. For example, Facebook pages have been created for our titles across Anglia…and then simply left to be filled with RSS feeds. Where’s the social in that? I hear you ask.

To my amazement, some big brands still mimic that now and believe that promoting the fact that you can like their Facebook page means they’re ‘doing social media’. Whatever that means. They’ve probably never thought about the need to talk and listen to their social likers.

Would they open a shop and then simply ignore customers when they come in to talk to them about products? I highly doubt it.

Anyway, with the odd exception, that’s pretty much what Archant Anglia had been doing with their Facebook pages and that’s a topic I will come on to in a later post.

Obviously, social isn’t just Facebook and, to be fair, a lot of our journalists use Twitter very well although we still have the tendency to view it more as a publishing platform than a conversational tool.

We’re keeping it simple to begin with and looking to improve the use of these two main platforms before we start delving into the world of LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr etc.

There are some major, major internal barriers ahead for us as well and, while I will not name names, I might nod to the odd person standing in our way and will, hopefully, be able to share what happened and how we overcame those barriers.

I would be very interested to know how other Social Media Managers started out, how they approached their strategy and what lessons they have learned as a result.