Social media. It is free, right? You can set up a Twitter handle or a Facebook page, update them a few times and be good. People will flock to you. People will hang on to every word and want to amplify everything you put out. Right? That is totally the way it works. No. Not at all. If that is the way you think you have a lot to learn.
Social media is a two-way conversation. As Gary Vaynerchuck says, for brands, it is about the jab, jab, jab and then eventually getting to the right hook. If all you are doing is promoting your product, your specials or company news, no one is going to pay attention. As much as you would like to believe people live and breathe your company the way you do, the reality is they do not. Sorry. Do not use Twitter or Facebook as an amplification tool or marketing initiatives necessarily. Instead use it as a community engagement tool. Talk about pop culture. Talk about the weather. Talk about how peoples’ days are going. Down the road when they are looking for a product or service that your business provides, you will be top of mind. Seriously. Relate to people. Show you are human. Connect on a personal level and you will win over people for life. Talk about industry news and join in the conversation so people will see you as a credible source for news and information.
Social media requires a crazy level of commitment, both in resources and personnel. It does not matter the size of your business. You must invest in personnel dedicated to community engagement, not to mention investing in content production as well. The return will be worth it. Immediate? Probably not. But long term success will justify the investment.
What questions should you ask before deciding to invest in social media?
- Managing social media profiles is a full time job. Do I have the resources necessary to do that or have someone on my team become our community manager?
- Are our customers on social media? If so, where are they talking and who is driving the conversation?
- Am I fully committed? No really, ready to bend over backwards to make things right for my customers no matter the time of day.
- Am I prepared to use my social media channels as support channels whether those channels were dedicated to that purpose or not? People will send support inquiries and expect a rapid response, much more so than via email or a help ticket. Are you prepared to support that?
Social media is NOT free. It takes an incredible amount of dedication and resources. Before diving in, give it some thought whether you are REALLY willing to dedicate what is necessary to do it well. If not, hold off. Seriously. Half-assing it is worse than not being there.