This is my recommendation for your 2014 social media strategy.

Appointing a Chief Listening Officer (CLO) is the first step. This person is like an air traffic controller for your brand, gathering insights from the radar blips and Tweets. The CLO knows your business, social media and technical tools, including Meltwater Buzz or Hootsuite. The CLO tracks, filters and feeds back the vital information to those who need to know, e.g., the head of communications, PR, marketing, and the social media team. The social media strategy is adjusted accordingly.

J.P. Morgan triggered this post. J.P. Morgan had scheduled and promoted a live #AskJPM Q&A session to engage Jimmy Lee with the public. Engagement increased rapidly – The Financial Times reported that more than 25,000 Tweets were sent using the hashtag #AskJPM – but the public was angry.

A CLO could have foreseen this escalated friction. Firstly, JPMorgan could have learnt from the two recent live Tweet sessions that backfired: Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, hosted a conversation in October using #GrillMOL and British Gas’s live Q&A with a similar hashtag (#AskBG). Secondly, the CLO could have quickly picked up the negative tones and advised the social media team to respond timely.

The role of the CLO in 2014 will be to track the company’s name on social media, and address the problems before they snowball, rather than shutting down the critics. That way your presence on social media will be invitational and conversational, not promotional and confrontational. At the end, we are all looking for engagement and brand awareness in 2014 on social media.

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