Social media can do wonders for your business. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (and whatever new thing appears in 2013) can be great for creating brand loyalty, gaining exposure, and growing relationships with potential and existing customers.
But social media is not magic. Adding a Facebook “like” button to your website will not cause dollar bills to flutter down from the sky, and getting a Twitter handle will not bring your competitors to their knees.
If you find yourself offering the following reasons for why you should get social media for your business, stop and reconsider:
1. We need more customers!
The problem word in this statement is “need.” Need communicates desperation. Desperation doesn’t sell in real life, and it doesn’t sell in social media, either.
2. It’s an easy way to rake in the new business.
Actually, no. Social media is just another tool for building relationships with real people. Remember that there are real people behind those tweet, posts, and pins. A wise business owner builds relationships with people, whether that’s over coffee, in a store, on the phone, or over social media.
3. We’ve got to collect more likes/pins/posts/tweets/checkins than our competitors.
If your competitors are using social media and you aren’t, you probably need to wake up and get busy. But social media is about way more than numbers. If you approach social media as a competition, you will be tempted to do dumb things like buying Facebook followers. Trust me, having 1,000 Facebook followers isn’t worth it when those followers are Russian spammers.
4. Everyone else is doing it.
Yes, but does it fit you? Social media only works if you work at it. There’s no point in spending lots of time or money to set up an account that will languish without updates. Sure, it’s wise to reserve your name. Sure, you can try it out to see if you like it. But don’t pay your web developer to add a Twitter feed to your website until you know whether you or one of your representatives will actually use Twitter. An empty Twitter feed does nothing for you.
5. It will be easy—I can just repost other people’s stuff.
When people see your posts, they should feel like they’re getting something they couldn’t get anywhere else. In many cases, that means that you create original content—you write something or take a picture. When you share a link or idea you found elsewhere on the web, you should add value. You can add value by discovering obscure but wonderful things and publicizing them. You can add value by summarizing complex ideas. You can add value by skimming (and sharing) the cream from the top.
And remember, adding value takes time.
And so …
If you are making these statements to yourself or your boss, pause. Take time to read about the different social media venues and make sure you understand how they really work—keeping in mind things like how Facebook culture and Twitter culture are completely different worlds. Sketch out a game plan and enter with appropriate goals in mind.
Better yet, call DTS. We’ll be glad to share our expertise and discuss what social media can do for your business. Social media is a wonderful tool when you use it correctly, and we can help make that happen.
Photo credit: Viktor via SXC