No small business or organization should simply JUMP into the social media ocean. This is not ordinary water – people can drown in there. First you need to learn how to swim in that vast sea and second, you need to have a Life Preserver with you at all times.
There are good reasons to want your company involved in social media. You should face this growing trend with both confidence and caution, however.
You have probably heard and read that social media can offer:
- None Increased brand awareness for your business or organization It’s true that Social Media Marketing can help your business in all of the above area’s and more. I firmly believe that social media has the potential to help pull many businesses through our current economic climate. But wise practices must be followed. If you are not properly prepared to implement and follow through with a solid plan of action, please don’t even set up your profile on any social media platform. If a potential customer travels to your Facebook or Twitter page and finds that you don’t regularly update, or maybe NEVER once posted anything except, “this is our first Twitter/Facebook post. Now what do we do?”, (don’t laugh – I’ve actually seen similar posts to that numerous times!), you’ll look unprofessional and they’ll move right along. I hate to be negative, but here’s a list of DON’Ts when it comes to delving into a social media presence for your business:
- None Don’t even think about creating accounts without first having both a solid Strategy and a workable Plan of Action
- None Don’t delegate the important work of online marketing and public relations of your company to one of your employee’s, unless they are a trained professional. (The kid with the IPhone who is constantly texting is not your best choice for this important work.)
- None Don’t think that if you build profiles on social media platforms such as Facebook that your audience will magically appear. You have to work for a solid following.
- None Don’t be afraid to publicly praise your competitors and fellow local business merchants. This makes you the chief among men and your social standing rises to leadership levels. In the online world, folks want to see businesses helping each other out, lending a hand and caring about each other.
- None Don’t ever get complacent. Please don’t think that when you reach 1000 followers you can sit back and let your social accounts run themselves. Once you start, you can never stop!
- None Don’t let fear of what people might say about your company hold you back from staking an online presence. If you’re THAT concerned, maybe you already know you need to make a customer service-oriented change in the way you do things. In that case, let your customers tell you and follow their lead. Publicly admit area’s where you need to improve, ask for positive suggestions and implement them. Your popularity will rise.
• None And please don’t forget that social media is just one part of your marketing program. It’s important and effective but it’s a part of a total marketing policy for your organization, not the whole enchilada. Managing a positive social media presence usually boils down to either having a savvy staff member properly trained and being willing to pay the salary to keep that person hammering out good content on a day-to-day basis or hiring a management firm to do it for you. Whatever fit you choose is right for your business, stick with it. Not all of the yields from social media are measurable, (though many are). I can, however, say with assurance that once you learn to swim in these waters, you find the water itself holding you up and making floating through them a breeze. For more information, see it here.