Full disclaimer, I believe that social media is currently being over-hyped as a marketing medium primarily because significant metrics are hard to gather and business communication is often a subsidiary focus. That said, almost every company should have some strategy for using it. The reason I say this is not from a belief that it will revolutionize your marketing. The fact is that for many it won’t. However social media is becoming a preferred platform of communication for many people and therefore needs to be adopted in some fashion by businesses.
This is especially true for trainers, consultants, and business coaches. Your clients and prospects look to you as a content expert. They expect to find you making commentary on your expertise and many rely on social media. If you won’t communicate to them in their preferred fashion, a competitor will. Furthermore, social media is becoming more important in search engine optimization and will be important to keeping websites ranking well.
So how do I rectify a belief that social media needs to be adopted but also that it won’t have a significant impact on your marketing (at least not immediately)? By adopting an, “I can say I’m doing it” strategy. Most trainers, consultants, and business coaches already have communication channels online and through email. It’s a fairly straight forward approach to integrate these messages into social media.
This strategy can be implemented by any business because it’s leveraging something that is already being done. This keeps the time/money/effort commitment to a minimum but still communicates to the social media audience in a way that resonates with them.
The other advantage of doing this is it positions you for a more in depth approach down the line. I have no doubt that social media applications and tracking will continue to improve, making it a vital mix in online marketing campaigns.
Starting out with a basic model allows businesses to build a social media audience where experiments can be done on the best way to leverage your social media channel. The power of social media isn’t really just marketing. When fully adopted social media serves sales, customer service, and personal one-to-one communication roles.
The “I can say I’m doing it” approach let’s businesses walk before they run. When businesses dive in with a full campaign they often get overwhelmed because they don’t have resources in place to consistently use their social media channel. Since they are stretched thin the effort is usually lacking and results are often negligible.
If you’re already using social media regularly and find that it serves more than a marketing role by being a communication channel for multiple parts of the business, you’ve likely hit a point where there is true ROI and more time/money/effort is warranted. If you’re not using social media then taking the “I can say I’m doing it” approach is a good way to get your feet wet.
Staying on the sideline of social media is a bad option. After all, how silly would it be nowadays to tell someone you don’t have a website/email but that you can fax information? Social media is becoming a more critical piece to the website/email matrix because it’s how many people communicate and is likely to be a business necessity sooner rather than later.