I have two types of clients that present a challenge to me when it comes to social media. One is the client who is so intimidated by the use of social media sites that they come up with every excuse possible to avoid even examining whether they could be of use. The other is the client who sees creating a Facebook page or Twitter account as an end in itself. As if just being on these platforms will result in engagement. They want to be “there” without any thought to why or how.
In the first case, I encourage the organization to start by just exploring how other, similar organizations are using social media before examining how they might use these tools themselves. I urge them not to get anxious about what they should/should not be doing. Just listen and observe first. There’s no risk involved and no huge rush to jump in. Those of us who are immersed in it every day forget that there is actually a lot to learn both technically and culturally when it comes to using social media. Move too fast and the uninitiated become overwhelmed and turned off quickly. Take it one step at a time.
Interestingly, the approach I take with the client at the other extreme is similar. I ask them to slow things down. Take a look at the big picture and appreciate what social media can do for your organization from a strategic point of view. How will you use these platforms to meet organizational goals? Why do you need a Facebook page? “Because everyone has one” is not a good answer. You need to set specific goals around what you are trying to achieve. Otherwise, you won’t know if your engagement is successful.
Before dismissing social media or leaping in head first, take a look at some of these resources to inform your approach:
Things your organization should consider before social networking – An earlier post from this blog that promotes a thoughtful approach to social media planning.
Top 10 Business Social Media Pitfalls – A post on The Social Roadmap blog by Sam Fiorella that emphasizes the need for a social media plan and points out some common mistakes.
Conquering your fears of social media – a blog post by Todd Heim, an Internet marketing professional who counters many of the basic fears about getting started.
8 Reasons Not to Fear Social Media – A blog post by Aliza Sherman that points to some great resources that can help to reduce the anxiety of wading into social media.
Where do you fall on the social media anxiety scale? Are you quick to adopt every new social media tool that comes along or do you tend to agonize about experimenting to the point of avoidance and inaction?