I am, to put it mildly, fed up.
Fed up with the number of people who say:
I don’t get this social media thing;
I am on LinkedIn but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do;
We have a website but can’t articulate the business case;
Social media is for a different generation;
I haven’t got time;
It’s not for me, without further explanation;
We haven’t got the resources;
The work comes first.
And before you say this is all self-self-serving twaddle, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
To be frank, I don’t care about social media in and of itself. My passion is how you leverage your intellectual capital using the tools and methodologies to realise your full potential.
Opportunity costs nothing, but when you put up a bushel of reasons for not doing something, you have to move a long way to convince yourself of the efficacy of the medium. For me, it’s not a case of tipping the balance (it’s your business after all), but understanding that if you are driven to share a point of view, help other people and, yes, grow a business, then you have no choice.
The Web changes everything:
- The way we consume information.
- The way we communicate.
- And the way we raise awareness of an issue.
Of course, that is not to say that word of mouth, PR or sales are pointless, but with social media you have a far better chance of picking yourself and positioning your acknowledged thought leadership, than waiting for others to pick you.
My advice to anyone getting into the (social media) space is – get into the space.
If your purview is limited to watching, criticising or looking for the risk, then go and do something else. In colloquial terms, stick to the knitting.
However, if you are up to your elbows in the grunge or want to get better, firstly consider who is it you want to reach, engage with and influence?
Too often when I ask this question, particularly around the chosen followers on Twitter, I get a vacant look from people who up to now haven’t given their indiscriminate following a moment’s thought. One of the mistakes is to follow brands and expect to get engagement. Good luck.
To repeat. It’ s a people to people medium. As much as I might like/dislike a product or service, do I really want to engage with a anonymous, random feed?
Secondly, if you have joined a social media site, ask yourself what objectives do you have? If you default to £/leads/client wins, then ask yourself why would anyone buy from you on Twitter, LinkedIn or from your blog. Put yourself in your putative buyer’s shoes.
Surely, one of the objectives is to supplement your networking and secure a number of pre-qualified meetings?
Thirdly, what strategy will you employ to bring about your objectives?
Will you produce a free download or two on your website or blog?
Will you have a value laden Newsletter?
Will you market your services via a Webinar?
Will you offer something to buy?
The problem is that most social media effort is arse about face: People start with the Technology and not in dovetailing their business development goals with their social media efforts.
Go on I challenge you. Dust down that plan, envelope or list of milestones, and ask the serious question: What is my business about and what does social media offer?
If you don’t have it covered off, then you need to re-re-write the plan and consider if you can change the heart and soul of the business to include social media. Social media shouldn’t be considered, much like branding, an afterthought. It has to be baked into the business (somehow).
I know it’s easy for me to try to lay down the law – if only I could – but the longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to differentiate your offering and earn the attention of your followers.