Executing on Social Media is definitely not as easy as some people think. I’ve been at this game for quite some time. I submerse myself in new software, inquire about start ups and try my best to be ahead of the curve at all times. That being said one thing I’m sure of is that it doesn’t matter what new software you use, what hot social network you submerse yourself in or who you are friends with – creating an effective online communications plan takes time and effort.
I get approached by people every week that ask for advice on how to build up their twitter numbers or get facebook fans on their business pages – each one of them expecting me to give them a simple answer that takes no time to implement and voila they have a thriving community. Every person seems discouraged when I let them know what they need to do – how many hours it will take and what they need to learn. I often sense that they are just going to ask the next person until they get the answer they want to hear but I stand firm on knowing that this is fact. Building up numbers on your social networks is not a goal anyone should try to achieve – what you should want is to build a thriving community around your brand as part of your overall communications strategy.
After 7 years of working with clients in a wide array of industries there are 2 things I am sure of:
1. You will never understand how to best use any social network if you do not use it yourself. I can explain twitter to anyone in detail, how to use it effectively and its pros and cons and they will never EVER fully understand it until they have made the effort to use it daily and for at least a month or 2 (and that is being generous).
2. You can never use any social network efficiently if you haven’t used it frequently for a few months. What I mean by this is that after you have used a social network for a long period of time you will be able to see how you can use it less frequently and still create an impact. Until you are really familiar with the behaviours of its users and the culture on that network you will need more time dedicated upfront.
These 2 points are important because many want to execute an online communications plan with little effort and unfortunately that isn’t possible. Long gone are the days of a press release being the critical component of your strategy. In order to successfully win you need to understand that social media isn’t about social networks, it is about creating an effective communications strategy and putting in all the effort needed to make that strategy come to life. This may take a dedicated full time person, this may take a team of people, this may happen in house, this might be outsourced – 1 thing is for sure… experience is needed, time is needed and passion and effort are a must.