There are so many things I love about the various updates of the “Social Media Revolution” video, including how big the numbers keep growing, the ultimate social proof for those of us who’ve been enthusiastic about social media for a long time, that we did the right thing jumping in when we did.
I have never shown the video to a social media 101 workshop, though. Why? People relatively new to social media aren’t always ready for the “you’ll be left behind” message. The video can backfire, taking inspiration to get started and morphing it into a why bother, I’m already too late malaise, and that’s not good.
Social media isn’t as hard as people make you believe, but it works best when you have a strategy and believe in yourself and your message, and have confidence that you’re reaching the right people — or at least are trying hard to make that happen. That takes what I like to call online confidence.
If you’re ready… here’s the video. If you’re a small business just beginning to think about using social media, though, why not hold off and skip down to the next paragraph of this article?
Taking Pen and Paper into the Social Media Revolution
If you are wondering how to start, it’s a good place to start with a social media plan — and that starts by clarifying goals and prioritizing to-do lists. This isn’t cookie-cutter stuff. You and your business are unique – and your plan should be, too.
Why not take a few minutes to do something smart and comfortably low-tech: Pull out pen and paper, and answer a few questions, the first six of which you can answer even if you’ve never logged onto such top-of-mind sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Pinterest or Linkedn.
1. What are your top three business goals?
2. Who do you need to reach to achieve those goals?
3. When you reach those people (2), what do you want them to do?
4. What do these people need to know about you and your business to encourage them to do that?
5. How are you reaching these people today, online and off (and including email)?
6. What could you do differently with those existing communication channels (5) that would make them more effective at reaching those people?
7. Where on social media do these people hang out?
8. Are they willing to connect with you there?
9. Based on how they want to interact with people on that platform, will you be able to do what you need to do to accomplish 1,2,3, and 4, above?
10. Is there a better option — online or otherwise — and how does it stack up against the alternatives?
Repeat 7-10 as you work through various online options, then compare and prioritize. Just to narrow the list.
Social media isn’t a marketing or sales strategy. Collectively, social media are communication tools that work best for local businesses when you integrate those efforts with traditional marketing and good-old-fashioned face-to-face networking.
Bottom line: You don’t need to be everywhere. You need to be where the people you’re trying to reach hang out online, and then only if they’ll be willing to hear your message there and act upon it. No matter how much prep you do, you won’t know for sure until you try.
Start with these questions – and keep asking more until you have a better handle of where you’re most likely to succeed based on who you want to reach. Then take the time to delve deeper into settings and more, log on and start to test your assumptions.