More and more businesses are starting to drink the social media “Kool-Aid”. They see the need and realize that there has been a fundamental change in the way people are communicating and sharing news and information. They also see how more and more of their competitors have turned to the internet and social networking. So the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, Foursquare and Tumblr pages are created. So… What next?
That is the key question. If you are asking yourself the same question, it is more than likely the beginning of the end of this great idea. Time to change your approach.
Businesses don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. And when it comes to social media marketing, it is no different. Understanding and planning are crucial to execution. Here are some things to think about while developing your plan:
1. Have the right mindset. Change the way you think about reaching people. If you don’t have the right mindset and are not on board with yourself on learning new ways to communicate, you will be wasting your most valuable asset: TIME. You have to believe to in order to make a commitment to your strategy.
2. Understand the techno-social environment. Social media is fusing sociology with technology. One of the most important aspects of this is understanding the environment, how people are communicating and how you and your business fit into it. It is not just learning tools and the technology. It’s about building your own community or audience and being able to grab attention creatively by connecting and building relationships through two way communication.
3. Don’t take a random approach. I call this “dabbling”. Many businesses dabble in social media and don’t have a concrete plan that is integrated into their business plan. Do you dabble in your sales approach? Do you dabble in customer service? Integrate new ways in how you are communicating and interacting with your customers into your plan.
4. Have realistic expectations. Be realistic with your goals and objectives. Building a community on-line takes time and does not happen overnight, the first week or the first month of your plan. It takes time for your audience to receive your information, absorb it and engage. Give it some time and stay consistent.
Also, don’t expect that social media is going to revolutionize your business and shoot sales through the roof. It might, but I wouldn’t expect it, so use it as an addition, not a replacement, of your overall marketing strategy. It is the piece of your marketing strategy that allows you to communicate and interact with past, present and future customers in real time, which will enhance your brand.
5. Engage. Give people a reason to be a part of your community and to connect with your business and your brand. Educate and inspire them with calls to action. Engage them with interesting and relevant content. Also, Engaging is not “selling” by the way. No one wants to be a part of a community where sales pitches are coming at them weekly. Do like people in your ear selling you something at a neighborhood party?
Take these tips to mind and start out with a simple plan. But have a plan. Don’t over think it. Don’t stress out over it. Just put it into action!