After plenty of time spent exploring the vast array of Social Media offerings online the temptation is great to be everywhere at once. Usually the outcome, especially when you’re trying to do this yourself, is abandonment since it quickly becomes overwhelming. The old paradox of choice rules the day. The more choices offered the lower the number of decisions. This is especially true in business since the fear attached to losing money, time and resources adds to the anxiety and amplifies all the psychology already attached to this phenomenon.
As with any type of advertising or marketing, a strategy and clear plan for implementation is required to enjoy the greatest return on investment. Finding a clear set of steps to execute in employing Social Media on your own can be a very daunting task since there aren’t nearly so many resources available on this topic as there are showcasing all of the available tools and suggested tactics. You have so many choices.
Social Media is simply a new way to perform an old task, getting the word out to a particular group of people about a product, service, event, etc. Just as with all forms of traditional advertising, employing Social Media requires a clearly defined set of steps that will be followed, methods for measuring effectiveness and predefined steps that will be taken based on the results of these measurements.
How much one is able to measure effectiveness will depend on resources of time, skill level and money. Before measurements can be meaningful, setting goals for each step, establishing timelines, and a daily map of tactics should be in place. How can you know if your being effective if you don’t know specifically what you are trying to do and if it is realistic?
All of this sounds very complex when you take into account how many tools are available and that the list of goals, steps, and strategies can be dissected in so many ways. Enter the choices paradox cited earlier, you become paralyzed with the overwhelming amount of choices, lack of clear direction and decide this isn’t looking so appealing now. How can anybody make any money this way?
What is needed is a shift in thinking. Approaching this is no different than any other project, it must be pared down to a manageable level. Eat the elephant one tiny bite at a time by defining what is realistic for you in terms of time, money and expectations, establish a clear plan to implement, monitor, adjust as needed and make additional investments over an extended period.
There are many reports of overnight successes using Social Media but a lot of variables are in play that mean one size will not fit all and we should expect a lot of differences from one project to the next in terms of results and how they are achieved.
Think back, does this sound familiar? This is exactly the same information you receive from counsel in using other forms of marketing isn’t it? The only real difference here is you have an opportunity to apply sweat equity, your own time and determination, and reach a tremendous amount of people directly.
What is the catch? We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. You must learn how the tools work, have a clear plan for using them and have the time to invest; otherwise, you’re left with hiring someone else to do it and it is now essentially the same as any other marketing vehicle.
You now have an additional effective means of reaching people on the Internet, along with print, television, radio, email, PPC (Internet advertising), banner ads on the Internet, your website, and direct mail. Social Media is not free – it requires either your time and skill investment or hired time and skill from an employee or vendor.
Developing a plan first, then inserting the steps you will take to test, adjust, cultivate and maintain it are absolute requirements. If you have the basics of a working knowledge of a few of the major Social Media platforms down pat, the next step is setting up the plan to use them separately and in a synchronized medley for a streamlined, efficient marketing effort.
The good news is this can be done on a very small scale to start, growing over time with your skills and available resources.
Date: September 4th, 2009 Category : Social Media Author: Lisa Isbell