It seems such an obvious question?
- More sales?
- More leads?
- More clients?
- More friends?
- More LinkedIn contacts?
- More traffic to your website?
- More face to face meetings?
- More recognition for your work?
- More PR opportunities?
- More free advertising?
Pretty impressive stuff eh?
Just think, if someone came up to you and offered you some Jack and the Beanstalk beans that, if planted, for free, could ‘grow’ all these objectives, you would be at them quicker than Donald Campbell’s Norris-Proteus Bluebird CN7 1960 (RIP). But the truth of it is that if were as ‘easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy’ as planting a stake in the ground and waiting for others to find you that every business up and down the land would be doing it.
The fact is there are a lot of business owners who know next to nothing about social media, and have no desire to start down an unknown and untried path in the current economic gloop. They are going to persevere with the tried and tested stuff, albeit that they will (or should) be working smarter and trying to make their pot go that much further.
Other business owners have an adoption issue: yes there are some people in the business who know enough to give things a kick start but the inertia just doesn’t exist. Or, more likely, there is the fear factor that is holding them back.
Finally, there are those businesses who have started to engage but are now wondering what are all the blasted fuss was about. They have spent their hard earned cash on building this fancy new, all singing/dancing website, with these Plug-ins that look pretty but don’t seem to do an awful lot and what started out in the boardroom as a new direction for the business is beginning to look decidely flaky. And, despite a heavy investment in time and money, they have bugger all to show for it.
We all know that in any business planning exercise it is crucial to start with the end in mind. If not how will you know what a successful outcome will look like.
If businesses truly want to get into the social media grove then apart from anything else they have to be prepared to consider a paradigm change in the operation of their business both internally and externally.
Internally – you have to cede control of the messaging, free up all of the social media platforms to your staff, allow a personal brand culture to flourish, be prepared for the occasional cock up, recruit an additional bod to look after this stuff and be prepared to allow your contrary types to be heard (scary stuff).
Externally – your crazy customers will be allowed to publically post on your website/blog, you will have to spend money on on-line material where you will seek to earn attention and not rely on the numbers game for a return, invest in some top-drawer story tellers who can reach out and engage with your customers (i.e. lose the ego-centric feel to the messaging), be prepared to fail publically – the faster you fail and pick yourself up the better – and look for some decent measurement tools/objectives so that you don’t get hooked up in things like the number of posts, Re-Tweets and Facebook comments.
None of this stuff is easy and perhaps that is one of the principal reasons why so few businesses have taken things fully to heart, but for those prepared to commit there are opportunities in abundance. But before you dive in for goodness sake make sure you are clear on your outcomes because absent some clear objective setting you will find that trying to mine social media will end like the proverbial fools gold. Lots of glitter but not much else.
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.