September 15, 2009

Social Media and Small Business

Misunderstandings

It is fascinating to listen to the discussion surrounding social
media in regards to the view
of some that it is a fad and to
others that it is a quick fix.

It is neither.

Now What?

So you’ve been dabbling in social media. You have a Facebook profile with a few hundred friends and perhaps you’re now on Twitter. You aren’t interested in blogging or webinars; YouTube is fun to watch but you don’t want your own channel and now you wonder if it’s time to introduce the company you work for or own to this space.

This is Business

Your social media commitment must be completely in line with your strategic objectives. You wouldn’t treat any other part of your company with this type of haphazard approach so it is not wise to do so in the social networking space. In fact, it can hurt you.

No Time - Don't Bother

Companies can get caught up in their own ‘too busy’ mentality and let things slide. Social media is not something to do ‘when you have some time’ – make time for it or you won’t see the benefits. Watch that it doesn't take too much of your time either. Yes, it is a delicate dance.

In a previous life I would consult radio stations that didn't have the money or people but wanted to do a lot of fancy things on their website to actually do very little. Do it right or don’t bother.

Hey! There Are Humans In Here!

And you will need patience and all those other traits that make you a bright business person. It’s tricky to resist the temptation to use the social web as a giant advertising medium but figure out a way to curb that desire.

Social media is not a campaign and your company will not gain millions in revenue after a handful of tweets – though there are a couple of stories where this has happened, those are rare. And if you aren’t willing to pay attention to how people interact with your company online, this may be a struggle for you.

Metrics and Missteps

Oh yes, and this is paramount. Grasp this immediately. Metrics are not the same as the ‘sleep at night’ estimates from other mediums. Just because you put up a billboard at the corner of East and South Sts., doesn’t mean anyone saw your message. That is the same with social media, it takes time and commitment.

It Begins Within

You need a corporate champion. If someone in your organization is committed to online social networking, you can begin to be a part of the conversation where your customers and potential customers may be as well.

Focus the Funnel

There are many social networking spaces but it’s difficult to keep profiles and contact on each because of the law of diminishing results. You simply don’t have the time!

Pick the channels you want and do them well. Skip the rest.

Congratulations if you are in the space with your business. If you haven’t but are thinking about it, have a blast!

@knealemann
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