We get the question from Indinapolis-based clients all of the time–should I join social media? Clients who are a decade or two older than me, often say, I just don’t get it. Whether you want to or not–if your an Indianapolis business owner, it’s time to get it and consider getting on it. The next generation (those 20, 30 somethings) gets it, reads it and is heavily influenced by it. Over the last few years, we’ve implemented and now maintain social media programs for clients as part of their integrated communications programs.
Here are a few lessons learned along the way that should be considered:
1) It’s not that hard. Honestly, social media is not that hard. You sign up, friend, follow, like, people you know (many social media programs will actually access your address book and reach out to people for you). Then start reading what people are telling you. Think their pictures or insights are good–click like, retweet and so on.
2) No one else really knows what they’re doing either. This one is for those readers who say–I just don’t get it. There is no right and no wrong to social media. These systems are evolving daily. Have a new great idea to help drive business? Try it. Chances are people are going to think–“WOW, that’s innovative.”
3) Be sure you have time. Social media takes time, regardless of if you post every day or use a tool to prep auto posts. As you decide which systems to use, consider the people who use those tools and if you have time to manage all of the social media sites you select. It’s not just posting the information that takes time. It also takes time to read what other people say to your post and respond to them immediately.
4) Be patient. Social media followers take time to build. It’s like any communications initiative. You start it and over time people start to follow and comment on your programs. Don’t expect a silver bullet.
5) Have a plan. Then deviate from it if needed. This simply means–think about an outline of topics that you’d like to include in your posts each day of the week (maybe weekend, too). Consider that photos drive more likes and activity. Contests engage the people you are active on your pages.
6) Keep in light. Social media is fun! Having people “like” your post is the ultimate stroke in business. Who doesn’t like to be liked? Right? Even the most serious of businesses have lighter moments among employees and clients. Share them.
7) Have a policy. We recently wrote a policy for a client… in it we stressed that we want employee engagement. We reminded employees that if they would not be proud to see a photo on the cover of the newspaper–then don’t post it to social media. If they would not say something in front of the client–then don’t post it to social media. Best judgement is crucial to stress to employees in these policies.
8) Hiring it done doesn’t make it easier. If your thinking, we’ll just hire this out, remember your team still has to provide ideas, information and content to the process.
9) Pictures get more likes. It’s true! Go look on any social media site and see how many likes photos have.
10) It’s ok to be a social media voyeur. Before jumping in, read and watch what others are doing. It’s ok if you don’t want to share or over-share right out of the gate. Being a social media voyeur is a great way to get comfortable with the technology.