People join social networks every day, and many know exactly why they are joining them, and specifically which ones they should join. But unfortunately, too many are joining social networks for the wrong reasons… or for no real reason at all. Are you one of them?
Let’s take a look at three reasons to avoid social media.
1. I won’t use it, but I need to get setup on all the networks
WHAT? That’s like saying you’re going to a networking event, but are going to stand in the corner, with your back turned to everyone.
Just “being” in a social network, if you aren’t involved, isn’t going to cut it folks. Just like you wouldn’t waste anyone’s time going to a party and turning your back on people, it makes no sense to even setup an account if you aren’t going to be present. Again, it’s called SOCIAL Media for a reason.
In fact, setting up an account on a social network, and then never actually using it could hurt you more than help you. If you aren’t going to participate, don’t show up.
2. I want to sell more of my products/service
If I had a nickel for every time I heard a client or prospect tell me they wanted to setup a Facebook page just for a new product/service – with the sole intention to SELL more, well – I’d have a lot of nickels. Social Media is not intended to be a sales platform (hence, SOCIAL Media instead of SALES Media). You can’t really expect to jump into a network, and just push your product or service. People aren’t interested, they don’t care, and they will ignore you.
However – products and services are sold every day via social media channels. Sound like I’m contradicting myself? Let me give you an example.
Joe sells fancy vacuum cleaners. Joe sets up a Facebook and Twitter account. Joe logs into his social networks every day, and every time he logs in he posts something like this… “Come by my fancy vacuum cleaner”.
How many vacuums do you think Joe sells that way?
On the other hand, Henry also sells fancy vacuum cleaners. He also setups a Facebook and Twitter account. And like Joe, Henry logs in to these networks every day. But what’s different, is that Henry never once tells people to come buy his vacuums. Instead, Henry provides education around keeping floors clean, how to get out stains, best places to buy flooring, etc. He never once talks about his product, but provides valuable information, content that his followers can actually use. It doesn’t take long before Henry has quite a following on his social media networks, and the people that are following him share some of his content with others, and before long, he’s selling his fancy vacuum cleaner!
Moral of the story – don’t sell on social media. Provide education and/or entertainment (edutainment). People don’t want to be sold to, do you?
3. I don’t know why I’m using it, but I am sure I should be
This one, in my opinion, is the worst reason to use social media. If you have no idea why you’re there, and have no plan, how can you measure your ROI? And worse, what will you actually do with those networks?
You have to have a social media strategy in order to effectively leverage the time (and money) you spend on social networks. Flying by the seat of your pants will only have you running in circles, and potentially cost you business along the way. Instead, you want to determine which social media channels that your target market uses, and how you will reach them using those channels. You can only leverage existing relationships so much… at some point your networks will need to grow beyond your family and friends. So knowing which channel(s) you should be participating in is the first step.
Once you know where you want to participate, you have to adopt a plan of action. You should plan to spend X amount of time in these networks every week (in the case of channels like Twitter – daily is more effective). X can only be determined by you, your company, and your goals.
Then you have to decide “how” you will participate. You will want to push some content, of course… but it doesn’t always have to be content you’ve written. You should share content from others that your followers would still find valuable and helpful. Spend time looking for shareable content. But please, make sure you read what you post before you post it. Be fully engaged, don’t just assign your secretary the task of finding three new articles a week to push over, and never actually show up and participate. People will see through that right away.
Again, think of your social network channels like a business networking event. You don’t stand in the corner with your back turned to everyone, you don’t walk up to everyone you meet and pitch them a product/service, and you don’t show up at an event with nobody from your target market. Be engaged, be transparent, share valuable information… the rest will come.
For more information on creating a social media strategy – check out this post on Social Media Today.
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