Social media made easy – or not!

social media for businessOn a daily basis I receive phone calls and emails from business owners who are looking for answers on using social media for their business. Most of the questions I receive are from people who would like me to come in and do something, or teach them something, that makes social media “work”.

I wish there was a simple solution. I would love to be able to charge a fee for a service which gets businesses online, being found by customers, and will continue to do so in the future. Unfortunately that solution is not available, well not that I am aware of.

Social media is a new way of communicating.

I think most people have resigned to the fact social media is here to stay and now it is a matter of embracing it. But embracing social media in your business is not something you do, and it’s done. It is something you do and continue to do, on a day-to-day basis. The question is not “how do I do social media?”, the question in fact should be “how do I adopt social media as an integral part of my business. How will I incorporate social media in to my operations, administration, communication, marketing, pr, sales, customer service and so on to ensure my business keeps up?”.

There are a number of decisions to be made and elements to learn.

The first decision is this – do we have the capacity in our team to manage social media or will we appoint an external social media manager?

Based on this decision there are two very different paths to follow.

Let’s explore the first option, that is managing social media internally.¬†

As soon as you decide to manage social ¬†media internally you must put a framework around your social media plans. You must decide why you’re using social media, what you want to achieve, who is responsible for posting and responding, what types of content you will share and how often you will do so. It is important to put appropriate measures in place to assure you are prepared for any scenario that might arise, a risk mitigation strategy.

Once you have conducted the planning and are ready to launch into social media you must be clear on your message. There is nothing more confusing for prospects and clients than reading unclear, ambiguous or contrasting messages. Once your message is clear, and you have your imagery consistent, it is time to launch your profiles and build your network. You should be using all of your offline tools to expose your online presence also.

Remember the goal is a long term shift towards a social business which will be ready for changes in the future. Your online and offline marketing, communications and appearance should always be consistent.

The other alternative is to outsource your social media management.

Essentially you are hiring somebody to represent your business, empowering them to comment, converse, post content, and build relationships with people on your behalf. The criteria to do so is simple – choose the right person. The right person will take the time to understand your business, your tone, your products and services and they will partner with you. Regularly communicating with you to discover anything important, relevant, new or aligned with your business which might be important to share to represent your business just as you would.

Even when you decide to outsource your social media management you should still work through the decisions about the purpose of social media in your business. By doing so you are providing the social media manager with the information they need to make your social media effective.

Social media is part of business from now on.

You must realise though that social media management is not something you do for a month or two, or even a year or two. Social media is part of our way of life now and as a business who needs to communicate with people – it is part of your business life also.

So are you ready to make some decisions about social media? If you need to make a start, or get your head around social media and how it can benefit your business then you might like to start with a book. Social Media Evolution is a great place to start and will help you to understand your next step. Order your book at www.socialmediaevolution.com.au and post your thoughts below.

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