Yes, while I am a fan and advocate of social media you might be surprised to hear me advise clients to walk and not run into social media. All you have to do is read any of my posts here or on Steamfeed to see that I KNOW Social Media is a game changer. From restaurants to retailers, small businesses & large corporations to individuals alike can all reach new heights and build long-term relationships by utilizing Social Media… properly. However, I also need to warn people against false expectations, Social Media is not a silver bullet to solve all of your operational short comings or business issues.
As a Digital Brand Strategist and Consultant it is my job to find the right solutions for my clients, while at the same time managing expectations. You will not hear me over-hype anything without setting reasonable expectations.
Social Media is not an easy button you can push to solve all your problems.
Don’t expect to push this button and think that Social Media will do the rest.
Social Media Is for Everyone
I work with many types of clients, more than just restaurants. I have clients in technology, healthcare, tourism, start-ups and so on, I encourage all organizations to get into Social Media, NOW. Why you might ask? Because building a brand is long-term commitment and investing the time and energy you put into Social Media will benefit your brand today as well as in the future. You can read more on this subject here, Invest Long-Term In Your Brand.
The Harvard Business Review Outlined Three Risks for Brands NOT involved in Social Media:
- Having your reputation defined by others
- Being invisible and less credible
- Being perceived as behind the curve
Let’s get back to the title of this post. I would love for everyone to just jump right into Social Media. It would be great if right off the bat if everyone just “got it” from the get go. Unfortunately, that is not the case as it takes time to understand the nuances of each network. In reality, each network works like a different language with their own set of rules and best practices. This is one reason people outsource social media management.
Keep in mind there is a HUGE difference between knowing how to use Social Media and being effective using Social Media. It is critical to build a social strategy in order to best use a network to engage with your audience and be effective.
Which social network(s) should I be on?
This might be the million dollar question, once again there is no right or wrong answer. Before you answer this you will need to ask yourself some questions about your brand and your audience:
- Where is your audience active?
- Which network fits your brand voice?
- What kind of content do you want to share? Ex: Blogs, Videos, Pictures, Recipes etc.
These are just a few questions to get you thinking. You can also read a post I wrote on Steamfeed, Choosing The Right Social Network For You for additional support.
A Simple 3-Step process to get you started:
1. Set-up – Once you chose one or more social networks, take the time to fill out a profile, add a link to your website and please include a profile image because You Are The Face of Social Media.
2. Create a Plan of Attack – What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to build awareness, share information, spread content (blog, images, etc.), offer tips, recipes or use it as a customer service tool? Consider sharing your goals in your profile so followers know what type of content you will be sharing.
3. Be Present and Consistent – Be active, be yourself and be consistent. Remember this is not a quick fix, it takes time and commitment to build and foster relationships. Please don’t set-up profiles and disappear. Be active, but take your time ease yourself into your network(s). Tip: Remember you don’t have to be everywhere, just start by being where your audience is.
Social Media success remains a marathon and not a sprint. So, Walk. Don’t Run Into Social Media.
What advise would you give an individual or business starting out in social media? Please share your comment section below.