The world seems divided between those who love social media and those who see it as the bane to their existence. Like everything else in marketing (and life) there are also many shades of grey.
To the naysayers, social media is a powerful tool as long as you do three things:
- Define your audience. When you use social media, are you talking to current customers? Prospects? Influencers in your industry? Too many organizations have a checklist mentality when it comes to social media. Without knowing who you are speaking to on your social media platforms, it’s difficult to communicate in a meaningful way. Social media is effective only when you can provide your audience with information that has some value to them.
- Remain true to your roots. All successful organization have a unique reason for being in business. They all deliver something to an audience that others can’t provide. So, think about what makes your organization unique, and be authentic in how you talk about it on social media. If it is people who make the difference, talk about people. If it is your innovation, then talk about how you innovate. If it is your efficiency… you get the picture.
- Take on only what you can realistically manage. You don’t have to tweet hourly or post something on your Facebook page every day. And you don’t have to cover every social media platform out there. Pick one or two platforms that best suit you needs, and be as active as makes sense. Just be sure that you post on a regular basis, and that you offer information that has value to others.
To the partisans, social media isn’t the answer to everything, and it needs to be kept in perspective.
- Don’t obsess about how many followers you have. For every new follower you gain, there will always be those that you lose because they are no longer interested in your organization or what you have to say. People are fickle, to which the thousands of editors and publishers who are trying on a full-time basis to garner audiences for their work can attest.
- Don’t expect your social media efforts to do more than can be delivered. Put in perspective the amount of resources dedicated to engaging customers and prospects and the relative rate of return. Concede when other forms of communications might be as effective and more efficient.
A note for all – whether you use social media or not – the more control you have of your communications to your audiences, the better your future. While the belief in the complete collapse and uselessness of mass media is premature (and grossly over-exaggerated), there are tools now available to all organizations, regardless of their size, that allow you to better understand who exactly your customers are and what their expectations are of you. This move to a relationship marketing strategy will end up being one of the dominant themes as we fast approach the third decade of the new millennium.
As always, if you’re interested in discussing your situation, feel free to call us at 301-654-5585 or email Donna Bigler.