Despite all the hoopla about social media and how it’s changing the face of business, forbes.com reported that there’s a big difference between talk and practice. Of the companies surveyed, 60 percent were still in the personal stage of social media implementation (as opposed to a company-wide approach), 30 percent were in the experimental stage, 9 percent were actually participating fully and only 1 percent had developed what could be called a strategic or optimized social media approach.
Obviously, talking and thinking about a social media strategy is easier than implementing one. Which leads to the important question: “How’s that social media thing working out for you?” If what Forbes found is accurate, many of us are simply not getting it done when it comes to social media marketing—despite our best intentions.
Industry experts share all kinds of reasons why companies are having a hard time making social media work for them, including such things as security concerns, infrastructure inadequacies and corporate culture that simply isn’t ready to accept a new way of doing business.
And yet, even some companies that have overcome those obstacles are struggling. So what’s the real reason that “social media thing” isn’t working out like it’s supposed to? There are two big success inhibitors at work: Lack of understanding of what social media is really about, and lack of time/skill to implement this new approach.
Social media isn’t primarily about the tools. It’s a different mindset—a different way of thinking about how you relate to your customers. If a company looks at vehicles such as a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., as new tools to put out the same old messages, they’re missing the point. Websites aren’t just online corporate brochures. They are a means to interact with potential customers. Blogs aren’t a new way to do a sales pitch. They are a way to deliver helpful information that empowers customers to make good decisions. Email isn’t a cheap and fast way to find prospects. It’s an effective tool for passing on helpful content to people who have requested it.
Just changing your thinking, however, won’t guarantee social media success. You still need to be able to create a viable social media strategy and plan. And then you have to commit to creating the content that will make that plan bear fruit. Creating a blog is a great first step, but you have to continue to populate that blog with fresh, helpful content in order to bring people back. It’s not a “one-and-done” scenario. It takes time to win the trust of people you’re trying to reach. And that only happens when you provide quality content consistently.
Here’s a helpful overview of what it takes to make social media work for your company. It’s a different process than the kind of marketing many of us knew only a few short years ago. So if “that social media thing” isn’t working quite the way you thought it would, maybe it’s time to take a new look at your marketing strategy and what it will take to get your message out to the people who really want to hear it.