Whenever you go to a store, you’re met by someone who is authorized to, to some extent, speak on behalf of the company. That person has more or less training, of course, but there’s an element of trust and autonomy there. Why is it so much more complicated with Social Media?
The easy answer would be exposure, diffusion capacity. If something gets out on a social media channel, it may get picked up instantly, replicated, forever out of your control at a speed only available online. The universe is expanding. But will it happen, though? Will a person you train and trust really do something outrageous to the point where people not only dislike it, but make a point out of screaming it out loud? Probably not.
It is clear that to achieve the kind of Social Media presence that’s publicly demanded of most companies today, you need a clear vision, a strategy, a solid answer to a number of questions like “What would the goal be?”, “If I’m gonna spend time and money on this, how will it pay off?” and others. The extent to which this vision is clear and strategy is thorough, the amount of knowledge you have about each specific channel and it’s users, and the ability you have to deal with the resulting data will largely impact how much you actually benefit from your endeavours.
There’s a lot of potential for overthinking here. The plot thickens. If you don’t have a set of processes, a mindset, change management, a “social” organization culture or an un-siloed way of life, will you become the next target of a widespread youtube video? Will there be an anti-you Facebook page? Fear leads to the dark side (indirectly), but on this issue, it will probably stop you in your tracks.
But what if it's simple?
I think it can be. At least the first step. Choose a few people who understand the business and are are generically aligned with it — people you’d have at a counter —, and give them an inbox to efficiently see what's going on out there, who's talking to or about you, make an informed triage and decide, like humans do, whether to respond right then and there, forward to an internal process of some kind, or simply ignore it? What terrible harm can they do?
Clearly you need a plan of what you want to put in and get out of social media as a whole, and each channel you use. The more thorough it is, the better. But the process of creating this plan shouldn’t grind you to a halt. It can be simple to get somewhere better.