Social media. We’ve all heard about it. And we’ve all heard that we’ve all heard about it. And we’ve all heard that we’ve all heard that we...
You get the idea.
So while it’s seemed to become unwritten law to plug the wonders and opportunities of using social media at conferences and in newsletters, many businesses are still left saying, “Ok, ok - I get it. It’s important. But how can WE use it?” We hear case studies, we’ve spoken to “experts,” but the connection - that lightbulb - hasn’t yet lit. You see how it works for others but are still left speechless when it comes time for action.
Go through the following list of what many businesses are doing wrong. If any of these sound familiar, you may have your answer as to why your bulb still glows dim.
They want to be “hands-off”
Newsflash: Engaging and building a reputable presence using social media takes time. Along with time (and I’m talking true dedication-caliber time) it takes expertise. Not expertise of social media, but expertise of your business and industry. When someone reads a tweet, Facebook update, blog post, etc., credited under YOUR brand name, they automatically assume it came from someone within your company. The value, significance and accuracy of that content will be credited to your brand. If you elect to be hands-off (not just you personally, but your company as a whole) and rely on an outside hired gun to tweet, blog, update on your company’s behalf, etc., you put your brand’s image in their hands. If they lack the expertise people have come to expect from your company, your brand is put at serious risk.
“But what if there’s no industry and company expertise required?”
Great question. Say you’re running a promotional campaign with the sole purpose of exposing people to events, contests, give-aways, etc.. You don’t need an industry intellect to run such a campaign, but it will still require significant time. Be prepared to pay for the hours it takes. Conversely, buying fishing lessons instead of the cooked fish will make campaigns much more economical and scalable.
They think it’s all about having a Twitter or Facebook Page
Many businesses have written off the effectiveness of engaging with social media because “every time I look at Twitter I just see a bunch of junk.” This is analogous to writing off cell phones because, “I hear those teenagers yapping on those things in the mall all the time.” What can be achieved using social media has nothing to do with the tools - it has everything to do with how you use them and who you’re communicating with on the other end.
Many businesses have launched a Twitter or Facebook page only to see lackluster results. After a few months of head scratching, they’ve become convinced this “social media thing” just isn’t for them. Don’t get discouraged. You’ve just learned one of the most important lessons in engaging with social media; IT’S NOT ABOUT THE TOOLS. It has nothing to do with Twitter. It has nothing to do with Youtube. It has nothing to do with Facebook. Yes, they are very important in March 2010 of achieving your goals but a beautiful new house is not about the hammer that built it. Next year everyone will be talking about the newest, greatest, most popular social network and Twitter will be “so 2010.”
They Are Too Focused On Number Of Followers/Friends
One real blemish on social media sites is how it seems to quantify popularity. I’ll sum up this paragraph quickly with this: “You are putting too much value in the number of followers, friends, or fans.” Yes, it helps to have many people following you, but don’t equate more followers with being more successful. Someone with 100 followers can be 10x more successful than someone with 10,000 followers if they engage better, listen more, and add more value.
They Don’t Set A Goal
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” [Lewis Carroll]
Don’t start using social media just because “everyone says I should.” Ask yourself, “what do I want to get out of this and how can these tools help get me there.” It’s a heavy question and may take some time to answer (especially the latter part). But any brand jumping into this space needs to identify if they want:
to be re-branded
another communication channel for customers
to get the word out on x
to learn what people think about them
On, and on and on.
Identifying your objectives first will make everything you do next much more efficient and effective.
These are only some of the concerns and sentiments of business owners when it comes to social media. We’d love to hear yours (in the comments/via Twitter/via email/in person/etc.) if this is a topic that’s been on your mind. If you’re starting to experience some success, even moderate success, let us know. We’d love to hear what’s working for you and what you’ve learned along the way.