Even though thousands upon thousands of articles have been written about social media in the past decade, I am adding my voice, specifically for the sake of the clients we serve.
Clients who generally fall into one of three categories:
- I want all the social media…
- Please, make me do anything but use social media
- What the heck is social media?
To the first two, I respond similarly. To what end?
To what end, I mean who is your audience and what do you want them to achieve? To be clear, I ask the same question when a client tells me they want a fact sheet or any other communication tool.
When I am asked to define social media:
I always say, from my perspective, social media is a communication tool designed to be an online conversation between two or more entities. And with that in mind, I think it works brilliantly within the communication strategy of some companies, and far less well for others. And it comes down to audience and outcome.
Think about this. A recent CEO.com article asked How Engaged are Fortune 500 CEOs on Social Media? The results are based on empirical data and I do not find it surprising.
300, of 60% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence at all, and of the 200 who do have social media, 131 are only on one channel. Interestingly, only 36 CEOs are on Twitter and nine of those are not even active!
I believe these results could be similarly extrapolated to other executives. So, if your audience is the C-suite, social media is not your tool.
From an outcome perspective, do not discount the conversation piece of social media:
If you are simply using social media as a tool to further push information to your audience, you are missing the point, which is the ability to interact, gather feedback AND share key information based on a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs.
Now, what if you decide social media is right for your audience, and you are prepared for a two-way conversation. You still must ask yourself if you have the resources for a social media program? How many personnel hours do you have every week to dedicate to your channels? A poorly run social media program is worse than no social media program. And, start small. You can always grow, but it’s hard to cut back.
This is just a sample of the tough love I give my clients. If you want support in evaluating your social media and/or other communication options, give me a call.