Social Media is a Process and Not an Event

Social Media can be a powerful tool to add to your marketing mix; it is a great way to reach out and interact with your current and potential clients. Social Media is not a standalone action. To participate effectively for your business you need to tie it in with your other marketing initiatives.

One of the hardest (and most common) missteps I see are companies that want to treat social media as an event. People treat joining sites like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook like it’s a quick fix. Deciding to participate in social media isn’t something you can try for a week or a month and then if you see no return you can just leave it. With every follower, friend or connection you are promising them you are going to provide some valuable information in this space.

An Audience of No One

When you start a social media campaign, you have an audience of ZERO! You need to earn them the old fashioned way – one at a time. So with an audience of zero how do you think you can effectively build a community, company buzz or site traffic?

Your online network will build slowly with your friends, coworkers, fans or other businesses but then it is up to you to provide content that makes people want to hear more from you. Hopefully they will then want to get to know about your business, products and services a little bit more.

Audience Comes After the Message

Unlike traditional media, your social media message comes BEFORE your audience.

In traditional media, you craft your perfect marketing message then you broadcast it out to an audience (billboard, print ad, television ad, radio spot, etc.).

In social media you have to create content, valuable content, to show people that your content is worth subscribing to.

You aren’t going to gain people’s trust in a week, you aren’t going to establish yourself as an expert in your industry in a month – all of this is going to take some leg work and some time.

My advice if you are thinking of abandoning your effiorts? Give it some time. Don’t give up too early. Scale back the amount of time spent working on social media sites but don’t abandon them. Schedule to send out one tweet or one post on your blog each week.

You can also scale back the sites you are using. Spreading yourself too thin with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Which site is showing you the most value? Cut back to just one and leave a message on the other two that people can connect with you on the one site you will be spending the most time on.

Want another take on it? Read Seth Godin’s The Reason Social Media is so Difficult for Most Organizations.