Social Media: You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

… but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need. (Hat tip to the Rolling Stones)

Social media can be a daunting channel for some; For others, it can be downright frustrating. You put in some time, energy, and resources, only to see no real value in return—at least no real ROI value.

Chances are you’re looking at social media the wrong way. Using social channels to drive purchases is hard even for those with deep pockets. Still, you see companies allocating large budgets to social media. That’s because they have a plan (possibly).

Do you have a social media plan? Really?

“Social” is the part of social media you should focus on. Think of it as being the “social butterfly” of the party:

•    You need to engage your customers and followers.
•    You need to be involved in the conversation (whether it’s your conversation or not).
•    You need to be authentic and find a real voice.
•    You need to respond to those who interact with you.
•    You need to be honest, friendly, and forthcoming with advice (even if it doesn’t directly benefit you).
•    You need to handle problems quickly so they don’t turn into a fiasco.

Most importantly, you need to remember it’s not about you. Social is about people, not companies or products.

To be really successful in social media, you need two things: Time and a Social Butterfly.

A successful social media presence is a full-time job. Having the right person to manage your social media persona (or voice) is critical as they need to be great at engaging your audience. Your social media person must have a thick skin and not be prone to answer criticism with a hot head. If the problem can be fixed, great! If not, your social media voice needs to easily explain why not and make the necessary arrangements to appease the audience (whether it’s one or a hundred).

Time is a big obstacle for most small businesses. Usually, the owner or partner takes on the tasks of social media. Inevitably, it breaks down.

Owners can be great or terrible, depending on their personality type. Sometimes, they’re too close to the issues and can have a predisposed view that might not translate well. They can sometimes be overprotective and thin-skinned about their business. Often, they just don’t have the time to commit to making the social presence work. (As Scott Stratten of UnMarketing would say, “If you want to have presence, you must be present.”)

If it’s an option for you, hire a full-time Social Media Manager to handle all social channels and make sure they interact with your other marketing people as well. It’s important that they all talk to each other to ensure they’re all on the same page when it comes to your company voice, marketing efforts, and business plans.

The bottom line: Take some time, make a plan, find a voice, and find that butterfly that fits your voice. Find out if being engaged with your followers and customers turns into more business and a wider reach.

Because you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need! Oh Yeah!

Cheers, Chris.