The Roberta Flack song, “Killing Me Softly,” always reminded me of how you’re supposed to “humanely” cook a lobster by dropping them in a cold pot on the stove, and then turn up the heat so that they get hotter and hotter until they “swoon.” (Side note: Swooning, to me, is what the ladies did in Gone With the Wind; they’d put the back of their hand to their forehead and collapse on a day bed. When I heard that you’re supposed to make lobsters swoon, I pictured a lobster holding a claw over its tiny forehead and, with a southern accent saying, “Oh, my, it’ so hot in heah, I think I might jus’ suh-woon,” but that’s probably just me.) So, you dive into the social media cook pot and it gets hotter and hotter until you swoon.
What do I mean by that? First, let’s see how the heat rises in the pot. Businesses often tackle social media by doing the following:
A. They get panicky and say, “Oh, well, we’d better get a Facebook account. Jenny, you’re the youngest on staff, so you must know the most about it. Get us a Facebook page.” Jenny, who has no writing skills or knows nothing about social media, marketing or public relations, is now in charge of the company’s public image.
B. They hire a so-called “guru,” “social media professional” or ad agency who professes to have a social media wizard and let them handle it. Sometimes that works, but often not. Why? Cookie cutter strategies, or because they simply don’t understand their client.
C. One of the top executives will decide they want to handle it since no one knows their business better than they do. While they sometimes have social media experience, they run it like they would their personal page and tell everyone all kinds of personal business, or use it for a place to fling opinions, or post lots of pictures of cute cats, or (worst of all) put lots of off-color content out there. To justify this they say, “But that’s what I see all the time.”
D. They constantly post ads and pleas for folks to call them for an estimate or a free consultation or the like.
E. Earline the office manager gets pegged to do social media because she actually knows something about it. The problem is, she is already overworked and doesn’t have time to do it the right way, so the results are mixed at best, if there is any success at all.
These are the five most common scenarios in my experience – any sound familiar? Probably you or someone you know has been through this. They flailed and thrashed as the pot got hotter and hotter, so it seemed useless and they walked away saying, “Ah, social media is a bunch of crap and it was a complete waste of time for us.” The trouble is, given that they didn’t have a plan, they’re probably right. So, what’s the answer? A strategy and some important considerations.
Social media is a big part of business today and it’s only going to be a larger part as time goes by. It will most likely morph into other forms but make no mistake: It’s here to stay and will get stronger as the penetration of tablets and Internet-connected phones continues to proliferate.
What’s the answer? It’s these items and much more:
1. Strategy – What will you do, when and for how long? You must have goals for it just like any program. “Getting people in the door” isn’t enough.
2. Resources – Who will handle it for you? It takes time, thought, preparation and effort to do it right (just like anything else in your business).
3. Audience – Whom do you want to talk with (not talk to – social media is interactive), how often and in what tone?
4. Persona – When folks see your social media, who is speaking to them from your side? Who does your audience think it is? What are they like? Why would people like them? Do people have a positive image when they read your posts?
5. Budget – Yes, it takes money just like anything else you do in business. The big hit is payroll because someone has to do the work.
6. Tracking – Just like any advertising you might do, you must track you social media activity and the results. If you don’t, how can you be sure you’re doing it right or getting the results you desire?
Okay, the pitch: Yes, I can help you with this, and would love to do so. Am I the ultimate expert? No, and no one is. Every company is different and, to do it right and get accomplish the goals you set out to achieve, a cookie cutter approach doesn’t hack it. Drop me a line and let’s get your program moving.
Click here to contact me.