Thinking before you jump will save you from ending up ‘all wet’
It seems everyone can’t wait to jump into Social Media. And for business this may present a real problem.
Think of Social Media as a giant swimming pool. Now if you have a simple goal of just getting wet, then by all means jump in.
But if you have some real goals and want a return on your time in Social Media you might want to have a plan.
Here’s a checklist of 10 Things To Consider Before You Jump into Social Media:
1. Do you have the support of all the stakeholders? Seems simple, but without buy-in from employees all the way up to the CEO and shareholders you may find yourself spending more time explaining and defending rather than engaging in Social Media. If you get commitments of time and money upfront you can focus on getting off to a good start.
2. Do you have clearly defined goals? Social Media can be a lot of different things to a lot of different users, but one thing it can’t be: A miracle worker. Muddled and confused presences in Social Media will look like everyone behind them does not know who they are and why they are there. Do you, for example, know where your target audience hangs out in Social Media? Take the time to do the research and create a plan (with benchmarks to measure results).
3. Do you know what tools will best suit your purpose? Blogs may make sense if you have someone who is a good writer and has the interest in maintaining the effort. Facebook and Twitter presences could help grow the audience or how about LinkedIn profile where you share something about your business and show off your employees and their skills? The point is: Not all tools make sense for all situations.
4. Do you have the knowledge and skill to do this effectively? The good news: Your organization may collectively “know more than it knows.” In other words there may be people on board who know different aspects of Social Media. Great! But if not then you’ll need to hire some help. You also need to consider who will maintain the effort and who will oversee it.
5. Do you understand the risks? These run the gamut from “What happens if we don’t engage in Social Media?” to “What happens if something goes wrong in Social Media - how will we react?” Will your existing policies on electronic communications be adequate to cover employees and others using Social Media tools? Ask lots of questions.
If any of these questions about Social Media efforts give you cause to pause then you may need to turn to a professional – someone who can guide the process for you: from research and planning to training, implementation and measuring success.
Peter Kim writing for Mashable.com on The 22 Step Social Media Marketing Plan
Cory Treffiletti writing the blog Online Spin for MediaPost on The Problem with Planning Social Media (No Problem)
Social Media Academy is an education and research institute whose graduates work in many aspects of Social Media
For some national “heavy hitters” in Social Media see ReadWriteWeb’s postSeven Social Media Consultants That Deliver Tangible Value
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