Guardrails – I love that term because it is one of those that everyone gets as soon as you say it. It is all about helping us stay on course and might inflict a little damage but is preventing you from incurring a lot of damage.
These are ABSOLUTELY necessary in social media.
The purpose of spending time developing a Strategy, Theme, and Content Map is all about helping you stay within the guardrails. It is so easy to “drift” away from your purpose and focus – we do it all the time in our every day lives. There is just so much going on in our lives these days that we bounce from issue to issue, topic to topic. Unless you are famous and people will follow you and hang on your every word, you need this consistency or you will hit the guardrail.
Randomness leads to defection. This was a key concept in our book on customer experiences, Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences. People want focus and don’t have time to sort through random content to find the one story of interest. Besides, it isn’t “customer centric” to make them do the work. They come to you for specific content – your insights, perspective, experiences, humor, value, etc. Usually in a specific area. Randomness works once in a while if it helps your audience to get to know you but otherwise, it is a distraction and leads to defection.
One suggestion to keep you on the road. Find a peer, another CEO you trust, and ask them to read your blog and twitter feed and tell you what you write about. If what they tell you isn’t what you set out to focus on, you have hit the guardrail. Ask them on a regular basis. Ask others you know will give you an honest opinion. The great part about leaders is they usually give you the straight answer – whether you like it or not. I get asked all the time by my clients, “Am I still on strategy/theme or am I drifting off course?” This is the right question and one you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.