Social Media: You don’t have to do it all – in fact, you probably shouldn’t

By April 19, 2011Marketing, Social Media

by Amanda Fier

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, and many others, have all been around the block for awhile. Yet there are new people and industries joining the social media fold every day. Many of them don’t know what to do and, out of a newfound excitement for social media’s potential, they want to do it all.

Yes, it’s important to do something here. But doing everything isn’t always the answer. All social media forums can be good, but companies need to figure out which are best for their business. For folks just wading into the waters or looking to improve their stroke, here’s some food for thought that I – and others at our PR and content marketing firm – nibble on with clients.

Yes, you need to be doing it. But don’t do it to just do it.

It takes about two minutes to create most social media accounts, but it takes longer to determine why and how you’ll be using them, and then it takes even longer to use them properly. As with anything you purchase or pursue in business, you want to consider:

  • What your goals are (awareness, recruitment, networking, lead generation, listening, SEO, etc.).
  • Where your target audiences most often engages.
  • What resources can you devote to social media  (eg. in-house vs. communications partner).

Conversational doesn’t mean stream-of-consciousness.

Because anyone can sign up, social media feels casual; but casual does not mean you shouldn’t have a plan. Rather, social media should be part of your corporate communications plan, and should dovetail nicely with the public relations, advertising, sponsorship and event initiatives already contributing to your business’s success. Here are a few things unique to social media:

  • Social media aligns with brand messaging, humanizing your company through a persona that can connect with your target audience in a fun, frequent, far-reaching and direct way.
  • Social media helps stretch the other marketing and PR efforts you have underway (e-Blasts, brochures, white papers, etc.), repurposing content across mediums to establish you as an expert, drive traffic across venues and create virtual canyons where your messaging can echo.
  • Social media, like a good PR or marketing pitch, more heavily considers the need of the client or target audience. Therefore, plan to devote 80 percent of communication to serving others and 20 percent to brand promotion that’s fun, informative, overt and/or subtle.

Make it count.

Finally, social media takes time – and time is money. While it’s tough to measure social media’s contributions to the bottom line (see this previous AMA post by Gerardo Dada), you sometimes get lucky and can track a lead to a click or post. Regardless, do compare your results to your goals, and always be looking for new ways to monitor, measure and enhance your savvy. Here are a few resources my colleagues and I turn to daily.

Google Analytics

Google Keyword Tool Box

Tiny.cc

Justunfollow.com

Convince and Convert

Amanda Fier is an account manager with Olson Communications, Inc., a boutique PR and content marketing firm with offices in Austin and Scottsdale. @fierless

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