I think far too often about the amount of time that I invest in Social Media and how it directly relates and contributes to my full time job. I walk a fine line when it comes to balancing my social presence with my work presence and I think I do a pretty good job of not mixing the two and spending all of my time at work Tweeting and Posting and +ing so the reality is…if I can do it…why is it so darn hard for others?
I am far from what I would call a social media expert…but I do work the connections that I make and maintain an open dialogue with my customers who choose to follow me. So if I am putting in 10-20 hours per week in addition to my full time 40 hours…then how much time does that “Social Media Expert” that you just hired put in?
What do you plan on getting back out of a Social Media experience? Do you tweet for pleasure? Is your business targeting women aged 25-44? Are you looking to build a professional network? These are the questions that will define your Social Strategy…think before you leap. Your Social Media presence can be purely personal, or purely business…I think it works best when you can strike a balance between the two though!
Social Media should be about engaging and connecting…nothing more. It is not just another way to blast people with a marketing message. I send out my daily blast alerting everyone who will listen that I have posted a new piece of content here…and then it is just a matter of monitoring my social connections for things that I find interesting and want to share.
I set out some targets for myself and all of them I have achieved….I have doubled the number of followers and connections on both Twitter and LinkedIn in the past 4 months…it is still not what I consider to be part of the Social Media Elite but my followers have added a “hash tag” to my posts that made me smile, and I am getting retweeted more than I ever have which is a good thing.
But back to my original question that I posed in the title:
What are you using Social Media for?
With nearly 1 Billion “registered users” Facebook is the king of Social Media but is racking up likes having the streams of every follower that you have become visible really the best use of your personal or business marketing budget? Twitter may have 140 Million users and 340 Million Tweets per day…but can you break your brand message down into 140 characters or less? LinkedIn has become a force to be reckoned with…exceeding analyst expectations in earnings and building a solid following. The key business decision makers are here and with 175 Million users with an average age in the late 30s…this is truly the sweet spot for most business functions.
So the reality is, I sit in my corner of the social universe and I see lots of people around me not getting their own Social Media strategy off the ground. That is the worst thing to do. Spending days, weeks and sometimes years for just the right opportunity to start…it is never the perfect time…and if you are afraid to make a mistake…well there are certainly lots of those around!
Sure there are Social Fails every day:
- Nikon’s Facebook gaff stating that “cameras take pictures…not people”
- Ragu dis-respects Dads with a YouTube slam fest
- Failure to understand what a # does like @Entenmanns for using #notguilty
- Actor Woody Harrelson and the Reddit Self Promotion back fire
- Politician Anthony Weiner for well…his love of his own package…all over Twitter
Sure, Social Media does open you up to all kinds of potential mistakes and gafs but the reality is so to does traditional marketing, but with Social Media…you can blast away 50 ways from Sunday and it is basically FREE!
As you look to Social Media as your own silver bullet for the economic downturn remember…action and common sense are your two most powerful tools in the use of Social Media. Your message will never get out there if you never hit SEND!
Use common sense…decide on your theme (unifying message and objective) and just do it! It doesn’t matter if it is a personal brand or a corporate brand…what DO YOU WANT? Once you know that…then do the things you would do in traditional media if you had an unlimited budget…but do it instantly, for FREE and create a two way dialogue (unlike a print ad or flyer…you can get real time feedback). If you make a mistake…it is not the end of the world…unless you do this:
Yeah…unfortunately…you can’t come back from making this kind of miscalculation…end of the world is pretty final and you may be able to use the excuse of a error in interpretation once…but you can’t keep going to the well.
I do want to say thank you to all of my supporters yesterday though, you made OS Sunday a Record day (and not by just a little either). Today is the first day of a new chapter…and I can’t wait to write it!
Chris J Powell