(Note from Rich's Brain: As I've been writing this post this week, I came to the realization that to push it out in one piece, is a LOT of information, not only to think about, but also write about and moreso for people to read about... so I'm taking a different approach and making this in essence the first part in a series of the things I'm learning about social media - with that said, what you see below consider it part 1)
So, past posts I’ve recently tossed out have revolved around re-connecting with people, and what it means to me on a professional and business level. I’d written about the soul searching that I’ve been doing as it related to whether I really wanted to put myself “out there” and what was I risking, whether it be in the Social Media arenas or writing in places like my blog here.
Well what a coinky-dink! CEDIA must have been totally doing their whole Vulcan mind meld, fingers on my forehead thing because – they offered classes that talked about it too!
It was class number ESCR099 also known as the “Social Networking Forum: How to Leverage Popular Social Media Platforms to Grow Your Business”
That long title notwithstanding – my brain interpreted it as “Hey Rich, wanna learn how to use facebook for fun and profit?? Amaze your friends and roll in the dough? Why step right in!”
Now this panel moderated by Kimberly Fabiano Fassetta (@kimberlyfab on Twitter) from Social4Media and Dave Kirn from k2 Dealer Services (@ksdsllc on Twitter) was 3 hours long. There was a lot discussed, so I’m not going to give you the minute by minute blow by blow, but the following item is just one key point that hit home with me and then my thoughts on it:
What endpoint do you want to achieve?
I was about to TOTALLY write this epic missive about all the things this can mean, pulling out all sorts of analytic data and references - because obviously from a business standpoint the basic answer is “Why I want them to drive to the bank, extract VAST amounts of money and look me in the eye and say – here Rich, this is for you - go be brilliant”
Now there’s obviously a lot more to it than that, the real question is how?
That's when John Sciacca one of the panelists beat me to it by uttering a simple and profound (well at least to me) statement:
“The purpose of you being here is a business objective, not to have 1000 Facebook friends…”
Sciicaaaaaaacaaaaaaa!!! (at that moment mid class, I got down on my knees and uttered my war cry - fists raised, all James Tiberius Kirk style, complete with zoom out camera angles showing the anguish…)
Not really, but I thought about it in my head and I was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
Anyway….. This is the double edged sword of Social Media, how do you market yourself without making it seem like some form of reality show that blends together your personal and business life in one cold goulash of self-important narcissism on the interwebs. Or worse, how do you keep it from being some middle of the night quasi-infomercial every time someone clicks “like” or “follow” that makes everyone feel like they're being "talked at"
Well these were some of the tips that I got from the panel as it relates to this point:
Social media is a supplement to your traditional marketing not a replacement
Again, this seems like an obvious statement, but with reduced budgets for marketing or even worse no marketing budgets – the first thought is – I’ll hang my shingle on the internet and just wait for them to run up to me, exclaiming how did they ever get on without me.
When I considered this, it made me think that this opens up some very specific questions asked and paths down the decision tree you have to make.
(Please note - these are my take aways and do not represent in any way the information proferred by the class moderators or panelists - this is just Rich's musings)
I don't have the time for Social Media, I'm already running the business full time, what then?
The simplest answer is, hire an outside specialist. Now you don't need to find a social media only type of consultant, more and more, the companies who are taking care of your traditonal marketing and advertising, they're stocking up on how to make Social Media work as well. Plus, they already know you and your company philosophy. Talk to them and see what your options are.
I don't have the budget for some outside company to help create my online brand, now what?
Your options becomes: train someone - whether it's an employee or you consider an intern who can help take some of the workload off of you. This requires a different type of interraction, but it does give you some flexibility to not only build your business, but also generate new opportunites for the people you work with. Positive benefits include cultivating someone's skills who might be better suited to the task and is more in touch with the technologies around.
I don't want to trust someone else to get my message across, now what?
Well bucko, you get to do it yourself, and along with everything else you're doing, you now need to figure out the steps to put in place to make this worth your time.
Me? Well I'm a mix of all three of the above, I, by design, run a very small company and I invariably wear a lot of hats. Although the idea of having people walk into my sumptuous mahogany paneled boardroom, which is appointed with many leather bound books, to pitch me on how I'm going to take Facebook by storm is a cool idea, that's just not gonna happen.
So what do I do? Well that's going to be part 2: "Be Authentic"
I call it "don't be THAT guy" & how you put a social media policy in place