Yes, of course you get *it*: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. To a greater extent that is social media – the platforms.
But if your firm is truly going to embrace the paradigm shift that comes from abandoning a push message to earning your clients’ attention then it requires a whole lot more than familiarity and use of the platforms.
- Put in place a social media policy and separate policies for Twitter etc?
- Unlocked the firewall?
- Developed your firm-wide social media programme so that everyone understands enough to leverage the tools?
- Worked out the model for best/quickest adoption – will you revert to type (yawn…) and go with command and control?
- Is your website fit for (social media) purpose?
- Have you considered your clients’ likely engagement with social media?
- Have you addressed the Why question?
- Are you enabled to consider the Return on Investment (ROI)?
To allow engagement across a range of (newish) platforms there has to be a shared understanding from management of the need to cede control both in the content and the messaging. This means providing a safe way for people to engage, allowing people to harness their natural curiosity and start a dialogue that may open up the possibility of reaching a new audience. It is no different to be invited to a party where you don’t know anyone and being asked to engage. You may go with some pre-determined plan, but by and large you get out of it what you put in. Stand on the sideline and you will think it a waste of time.
Inherent in any form of social media engagement is the need to be thoughtful, respectful and interesting. Over time no one is going to be mesmerised by your lacklustre sales message, your firm news or case updates. The trick: be social and look for engagement.
Next time someone mentions social media in a meeting make sure that they understand fully the need to be social and not just to broadcast a message. This is, of course, not new but it doesn’t help to mention it from time to time. If all you are doing is constantly looking to use the tools but without any dialogue or engagement then be prepared to go back to basics and start again.
Social media is a people to people paradigm and is very unlikely to work if someone is asked to engage with a cold, practically dead from the neck down brand.
~ Julian Summerhayes ~