Social Media – WHERE DO YOU START?
- WORDPRESS BLOG?
- RSS FEEDS?
When you next hit the Share button on a website, the one with the + sign, you will see that there are over 150 plus social media sites. And if you follow Mashable and Techcrunch, you will be told about the next Big Thing (in addition to the 150!) and be tempted to hop on board and see if it is slicker, more interactive, more novel and populated by even better prospects, friends or colleagues than the current crop of platforms you have signed up for.
Nb. I wonder whether they should also come with a longevity rating: Are they likely to be around in the next 18 months?
The latest one that I have signed up for is Postling. I am still not sure it adds anything to Ping.fm, Tumblr or Posterous but I have, nevertheless, opened an account. Let me know what you think if you do decide to have a go.
Some people limit the number of platforms that they are part of; and some go even further and declare that they will not sign up to a platform (David Meerman Scott has made it clear that he has no intention of joining LinkedIn). I am not sure that I have reached a phase yet where I am brave enough to seal up the hatch and say “that it is, no more” but I feel that I have reached saturation point.
Apart from the obvious time constraint, and delving and scratching away with too many platforms, you begin to lose site of the bigger picture.
The People [that matter]
I have worked out my target audience, namely professional practice (the legal profession appears to take centre stage at the moment) but, without spending many hours combing each and every legal website (if you want to see the top 100 legal websites go to the Connectegrity site), doing enumerable searches and Tweeting as if my life depended on it, it is still difficult to work out who exactly is engaging. Yes there are some important/ interesting/contrary folk out there but I have yet to come across on Twitter – either by design or accident – any of the Managing Partners or Chief Executives of the Magic Circle firms. If you are on Twitter then tell me or if someone else knows then likewise point me in the right direction.
For those of you familiar with The Social Technographics ladder (“the Ladder”) produced by Forrester, you will appreciate that the ladder starts at the bottom with Inactives and concludes at the stratospheric heights of Creators. There is a whole host of participants in between, but, so far as the legal profession is concerned, my intuition tells me – or rather my stumbling search efforts on Twitter – that there are probably a lot of Inactives and probably quite a few Spectators (those that may read blogs and watch video but don’t actively engage). If that is right then it makes it quite difficult to establish a presence and more traditional routes apropos sales/business development will be my drug of choice.
The point is that if you are going to use social media then make sure that those people who you want to reach directly or indirectly are not just on one or more of the platforms but they are likely to be comfortable in using this medium or buying into it for the purposes of your particular proposition. This is not the same thing as saying “are my customers on-line” (way too basic) but have they moved to a stage where they are likely to enter into some sort of meaningful and energetic exchange through one of the platforms that you have adopted?
What I am clear about though is the reasons for entry and use of social media for my personal brand/business. The principal reasons being:
- Brand awareness;
- To develop a Sales channel;
- Critical thinking;
- To promote my *Excellence* message;
- To further my prospects of being published (once of course I fully commit to this);
- To keep in contact with referrers, fans and friends;
- To walk the talk;
- Achieve a faster conversion ratio from prospect to client.
Not every one of the platforms that I have signed up will assist me with all of these but spread across the spectrum I feel confident of engaging, reaching out to and earning the attention of the necessary influencers. Can you report as favourably with the platforms that you have chosen?
I am still in the process of scaling my business but over time I will have the ability to measure the outturn of a particular campaign but for the moment I am content to go with the feel of things – engaging with Twitter, Facebook, Buzz and LinkedIn and some of the others.
This may in some respects overlap with the Objectives but you need to drill down and unearth the specifics:
- How many times a day will I have time to Tweet?
- Have I worked out what I am going to say/not say on Twitter?
- Who will I want to join with?
- Does this dovetail with the sector that I am interested in?
- Will I adopt Facebook and if so how will I keep that separate from my personal profile?
- Is LinkedIn a waste of time? If not how am I going to use it for my business?
- Will I bother to maintain a blog?
- If the answer is yes then what I am going to say and how frequently will I have time to post something to it?
As you can see the more platforms that you have the harder this exercise becomes. You can’t be expected to spend all your time on this stuff when you have to pay the bills and the suppliers and HAVE A LIFE!!!
You have heard it many times before but it is the crux of social media: Don’t start with the technology or the platforms but ask yourself what you want to get out of your adoption of social or real time marketing? Make sure you have some clear objectives, have thought about the people and looked at the tactical implementation. Once you have mined these areas you will then be able to (easily) align the platforms.
It reminds me of what the Queen said in Alice in Wonderland:
“Sentence first – verdict afterwards”.
If you do start with the technology then take it from me you will burn up some very valuable time in trying to understand what it is that you are trying to achieve and any smart measurement will be almost impossible.
For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 075888 15384.