The other day, our architect comes over and starts talking about social media. He has a website but now he’s thinking he should start a Blog, join Facebook or use Twitter. When I asked him why, he said “Oh, I don’t know, it just seems like everyone’s talking about these things so I figured I should do them.”
Like any other significant investment that you make in your business, Social Media has to provide a reasonable return on investment. “But,” you say “Social Media is free or close enough to free, what’s the big deal?” Well, it may not cost money but ask anyone who Blogs or Tweets or updates their Facebook page intelligently and they’ll tell you that using Social Media effectively is one of the biggest time-sucks on the planet.
So, if you’re going to spend your time this way, make sure that what you’re doing makes sense. Create a list of goals (what do you hope to achieve through these vehicles?) and a list of audiences (who do you hope to reach?). Then, answer the following questions for each of your audiences:
1) How/where do they look for information?
2) How can I attract them – what do I have that they want?
3) How should I approach them – what will make them stay with me? (Think, too, about what will make them pass you by or even worse, flame you)
4) What do I want them to get from me?
5) What do I want to get from them – what do I want them to do?
6) How do my Social Media activities fit in with my broader marketing efforts?
For me, as an educator and business consultant as well as photographer, spending time participating in this Blog makes sense. Am I trying to sell you? Well, yeah, of course I want to grow my audience but hopefully I’m giving you something valuable along the way. And, if I’m not – if I fail to deliver on the promise of this brave new media, or if I’m too heavy-handed and you feel like I’m here JUST to sell you – you’re gone in the blink of an eye (or the amount of time it takes for your mouse to hit the next link).
So, outline your goals, develop your strategy, figure out who you’re trying to reach and why. Invest your time wisely – make sure you’re giving the right people good value in exchange for their attention and then well, come on in – the water’s fine.