Start doing social media they said. It will be fun they said. It will bring us lots of success they said. It will be free they said.
The truth is social media is not free. It requires our greatest asset which is TIME!
Doing social media is NOT the objective. Posting MORE content to the already noisy digital world is NOT the objective. Your customers and audiences are not waiting on the edge of their virtual seats excited for you to post yet another link to your press release or announcement of the new discount and product or service you want them to buy.
Instead consumers and business decision makers today are eager for connection. They want experiences. They want value. They want you to earn their trust. And once you earn it, it's up to you to earn business and their loyalty.
We work with organizations of all shapes and sizes from entrepreneurs to Fortune 10 brands. We help them integrate new media and social technologies combined with traditional and digital marketing to achieve measurable business goals and objectives. We are seeing a pattern of behavior across organizations big and small that is concerning.
Marketing leaders work for months to a year or more to finally obtain approval for investment into their proposed social media and digital marketing program.
It's usually (hopefully) approved with an expectation of the following (at minimum):
- Aligned to top business goals where it can have a positive impact on results.
- Measurement system inclusive of key performance indicators.
- Measurable goals and objectives.
- Governance with a balance of risk management and employee empowerment.
- Social employee empowerment program inclusive of training.
- Focus on audience. Acknowledgement it may take further research to better understand, inspire and connect with audience.
- Brand humanization strategy and plan.
- Content marketing strategy and plan.
- Distribution strategy and plan.
- Website, blog and other owned online asset strategy and plan.
- Influencer outreach and engagement strategy and plan.
- Social platform selection and prioritization based upon audience analysis and business goals.
- Commitment to provide the highest value possible to all audience members, customers, partners and the larger ecosystem.
- Community development strategy and plan inclusive of social listening and engagement.
- Integration with organizations. Includes aligning and working with other departments, integrating social where it can have the greatest impact. This often includes marketing, sales, customer service, human resources for starters.
- And the list goes on….
Social Media Program Approved – Don't Lose Your Mind
When the project starts everyone is excited about the “big picture.” They understand where they are going. They are excited they have a trusted advisor to help them get there.
However, somewhere between when the project gets approved, budget allocated and the team starts working on it, many marketers and business leaders lose their mind. They forget why they are doing the project in the first place. They forget that becoming a social business is a journey, not a destination. They forget that they are not going to get there overnight.
Often times it stems from a lack of understanding the digital ecosystem and the role their organization can and will play in it. Becoming a social business is a journey, not a destination. You can't put a date on the calendar that reads, “this is the day we will be a social business.”
Instead you must set goals, objectives and realize the only guarantee is change.
Unfortunately it is in the very early stages of a social media program development many marketers and business leaders immediately start jumping to tactics such as social profile rebrands, images for Facebook and Instagram, random Instagram and Tik Tok videos and the list goes on.
Although all of these things sound, feel and seem harmless, the truth is unless they are done within the larger scope of your project and plan, they are nothing more than Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs). RAMS are not good. They will eat every last morsel of ROI for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Learn more about RAMs here-> 15 Reasons Random Acts of Marketing are Bad for Business
Then what happens after one to two months of wasted time on RAMs? Well, you wind up not being much further along than you were one or two months ago. Why? Because you focused on RAMs. Because you focused on what was easy, fun and felt good versus what needed to be done. You focused on short term feel good tactics vs long term make a difference goals and objectives.
Quit Trying to DO Social Media and Focus on Your Business!
So how do you stop this trajectory? The answer is pretty simple. QUIT trying to DO social media.
Quit worrying about being first to tweet a post, first to wake up in the morning and post a cat photo to Facebook.
Instead get in your office, roll up your sleeves and do the hard work that needs done.
If you are a marketing leader reporting to a business owner or executive(s) in a larger organization, do not focus results on your updated and pretty social profile or your “hope to go viral” video.
It is YOUR responsibility to educate your stakeholders on the fact this is a journey, not a destination. You must help educate them, change their mindset over time and let them know there is no quick fix band-aid called social media that is going to save the broken parts of the business.
It's not about completing the task list of randomness that makes you feel good each day. It's about making forward progress on your journey to become a social business that delivers real value. It's about raising your own bar above the status quo. It's about making the shots you were previously afraid to even try for.
It's about aligning social to your audience needs and business goals, period. It's not rocket science, but it takes time and it takes investment in process, not just viral memes and videos, Instagram and pretty Facebook images of cats and quotes for posting.
If you don't know where to start in developing a plan, understanding your audience, and aligning social media to your business goals, we can help.
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