Few Companies Take the Time to Select the Social Media Sites that Will Be Best for Them
I don’t know how many times I have read purported experts telling organizations that they should have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, Friendster, MySpace, etc. I have heard them specify up to 10 sites that they state are critical to your business. Do they really know? What is their proof?
If you go looking for sites on your own you will see that Wikipedia lists over 190 different Social Media sites. On top of selecting your Social Media sites; businesses are told they must be blogging and oh, by the way, you should do podcasts in your spare time.
The reality is that there are way too many options and no business, regardless of how well staffed they are, can effectively participate in all these sites or even 10 sites. To make it worse many so-called Social Media consultants or experts spend little or no time understanding your business or helping you develop a strategy. My experience is that their interest is to get you involved in Social Media Sites far more than helping you achieve Social Media success.
What Do You Hope to Accomplish with Social Media and Why?
Before you jump into any site you must first understand or determine what you are attempting to accomplish. You must be able to answer these questions:
- Who do you want to talk to?
- Where do members of your audience spend their time?
- What Social Media sites serve your audience?
- What is interests your audience?
- What information can you contribute to meet their interests?
- How often do you want to talk?
- What of quality or value do you have to say?
- What action do you want your audience to take?
I am sure you can come up with other questions that will help to narrow your focus and evolve your strategy.
When you can answer these questions you are then prepared to start evaluating which Social Media sites will best serve your purposes. Certain sites lend themselves better to one objective or another and none are a one-size fits all solution.
The mistake that you do not want to make is to spend time in places where you will not find your customers and prospects or where you have nothing to add to the conversation. My friend, Neal Shaffer, wrote the blog post 5 Reasons Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Really a Social Media Strategy.
Your Social Media Strategy Must Be Evolving
Your Social Media strategy must be evolving. Social Media sites will come and go, customers will redefine their interests, and/or you will change your strategies. You must be prepared to adapt and change as your needs change.
The reality is that businesses must pick and choose their Social Media sites with care. Just like you take care in selecting your product or service lines you must be using the same care in selecting your Social Media sites.
Social Media Has Much to Offer Businesses, but They Must Do Their Homework First
If you take the time to do your homework; your chances of success will increase geometrically.