It is long past time for everyone to realize that social media is not going away. In fact, if your business is not using social media to market itself to new customers and stay in good standings with existing customers, you are lagging behind the rest of the world.
Not Everyone Is Ready
Executives are arguably the most detached people in the world. In some respects, although they are most adept at running companies and leveraging the best possible business deals for their companies, they don’t always do so well in social circles. This includes social media, of course.
Lead By Example
If your corporate executives are having trouble adapting to the social media world, help is available. In fact, a simple Google search can deliver some explanations and step-by-step instructions for corporate executives looking to catch-up in the realm of social media.
When an executive grapples with social media marketing, he or she might feel a lot like I do when taking my car to the mechanic. There’s a lot I don’t know; there’s a lot I don’t want to know. I’m not sure of the accuracy of what I’m being told, and I question the motives of the person who’s telling me. I’d just as soon ignore the slight rattle in my engine, but I know if I do, there will be hell to pay later. Reluctantly, skeptically – I take action.
With this in mind, here are four recommendations that can help overcome the trepidation and put you in the social media driver’s seat.
Separate Noise from Knowledge
No business leader should feel comfortable making high-level decisions about social media strategy without a base level of knowledge. However, to acquire it one must consider the source carefully. Social media evangelists are persuasive, but they tend to be highly theoretical and downplay real-world obstacles. Social media cynics, in sharp contrast, are consumed by the obstacles and ignore the significant benefits that a well-crafted social media program can deliver.
Action. Seek counsel from those who have real-world social media experience and realistically evaluate the terrain. There are many such people out there – and they can help transform your business.
Rationally Ration Your Assets
If the executive team lacks foundational knowledge, it usually underestimates the skill and effort required to conduct a social media program. If one’s mental image of a social media specialist is a nerdy twenty-something blithely tweeting the day away – nothing could be further from the truth.
Skill. Among the skills I have found to be crucial to social media success are strategic thinking, a keen understanding of people and persuasion, organization, the ability to work on a team, search engine optimization (SEO) and web analytics. It is unlikely for a person of any age to possess all of these skills. Teams are essential.
Effort. Building a community on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and now we must add Google+ to the basic mix – takes a great deal of time. Unless you have millions of brand evangelists already, expect to log many hours inspiring people to listen and engage. On top of this, results and tactics must be reviewed frequently and expertly, since the first approach is seldom a winner and the social platforms themselves change, sometimes radically, from day to day.
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