What would you do if I told you that the only way to become a social business in 2012 is to not do social media? There is a big difference between "doing social media" and "becoming a social business".
There are plenty of self proclaimed social media gurus and experts ready to tell and sell you how to strike it rich. From magic sales funnels, twitterati clubs to magic potions that fast track your achievement of the online jackpot!
The truth is most of these same experts have no content of their own, and have online communities on Facebook and Twitter that are far from engaging. Half of them don't know the first thing about business or marketing let alone how to integrate social media into business. Yet these same social magic potion makers are ready to take your credit card with a promise of soaring you to green pastures of social media fame and success.
Every time we teach a seminar or speak as a keynote there is always a hand full of people in the room that seem to be jumping from seminar to seminar in hopes of finding that guru that is going to finally give them the secret sauce. Sometimes they even seem frustrated as they think once again they got ripped off, that we didn't give them the magic social B12 shot that is going to zoom them to success. There is usually at least one person who will ask at the very end, "wow, so this is really going to take work!?" Yes, it is going to take work folks.
The only way to do social media is the way that works for you and your business!
The number one question I get asked by those new to social media is "how do I make social media work for my business"? I want to point out two words in this question "my business".
Sorry folks, but there is no magic pill, potion, secret sauce or template that can fast track results for you without some work on your part.
There is also no guru, expert, thought leader or influencer that can possibly give you the secret sauce in a seminar or class without understanding your business, objectives and audience. If any agency or consultant offers you a templated plan or strategy without first understanding your business, your objectives and your audience, RUN Forrest RUN!
So, you might as well roll up your sleeves and get to work! The only way you can make steps toward becoming a social business is if you build a plan that aligns with your business goals and objectives. Integrating social media into the DNA of your business is your best bet for success!
As you kickoff the planning, prioritizing, integration, goal setting and implementation of social media in 2012 I have a few tips (30 of them) to keep you focused.
30 Tips To Stay Focused On Your Business in 2012
1. Accept the fact there is no magic potion, pill, secret sauce or social media twitterati ninja that can give you the answers to become a social business overnight.
2. A Facebook page does not equal social media and does not give you a competitive edge. Hello... there are already 850 million people on Facebook. Sorry Charlie, you are late to the party.
3. Acknowledge that becoming a social business is going to take work, real work.
5. Repeat after me... "I will not fall for the magic potions that promise I can become a guru, expert, thought leader, influencer or social media rockstar overnight!"
6. Understand that your mission is to get in the head of your audience and understand how you can have a relevant conversation with them that inspires them to further engage with you and your brand.
7. Set goals and objectives for your business before you set goals and objectives for social media. Social media is not a band-aid for a broken business.
8. Choose goals to align social media where social media can have an impact. Not all business goals and objectives can be positively impacted by social media.
9. Not all results can be easily measured with social media.
10. Balance learning of tools and technology with the art of social media including conversation, engagement, and participation. Anybody can learn the tools and tech. Focus on the art of engagement as relationships are the lift raft for technology evolution and change.
11. As much as you want to think it is about you, it's not. We don't care that you are the rockstar of your town, your high school, your gym or have the biggest mall hair this side of Texas. First tell me how you can help me and my business and then I'll decide if I can put up with your super size ego.
12. If you don't know what SMO is, you better find out. Optimizing your social media is key to success and results. (By the way SMO = social media optimization).
13. Focus on inspiring your audience to connect with you, help them achieve their objectives before your own. Doing such will help you meet your objectives if you have properly planned and done your research on the needs of your audience and how they align to your services and products.
14. Stay focused on your business and your audience. Don't get side tracked with competition who may or may not be doing it right. Of course you want to identify your top competitors and understand what they are doing and how they are engaging with your common audience and community. However, do not over focus in this area.
15. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you don't have the skills and knowledge of social media, hire an agency or consultant to help you get started. Just remember that just because someone is on Facebook or Twitter does not mean they are an expert or have the skills to integrate social media into your business.
16. When hiring an agency or consultant talk to more than one. Do the double click on their social profiles, Facebook pages, LinkedIn communities and activities. If there is not evidence they are successful in building their own brand, community and are able to successfully engage an audience then chances are the work they do for you will be even less spectacular.
17. Let the skeletons fall out of the business closet now. Becoming a social business is going to open up closet doors you thought were locked down forever. Let the yucky stuff fall out and deal with it.
18. Start working on your social media policy now. Do not skip this step, period.
19. Everything you say on Facebook and Twitter does not stay on Facebook and Twitter. Manage your online reputation or it will manage you.
20. Using the website your intern built in 1999 is probably not the best idea. Invest in and prioritize the online assets you need to be successful.
21. Stay focused, set time limits and set goals for each online surfing session. Spend an equal amount or more time on your clients, your objectives and goals over reading blogs and random hours spent on Twitter and Facebook!
22. People don't just buy things, they join things. Focus on how you can build a loyal community and team of evangelists ready to share and shout how great your brand is from the mountain top!
23. Avoid random acts of marketing (RAMs) at all costs. RAMs feel good short term but will eat every lost dollar of return on investment if you let them.
24. Be realistic with expected outcomes.
25. Don't copy the guru, competitor or neighbor around the corner. Focus on your business, your audience, your community, your goals and your objectives.
26. Obtain the buy-in from key stakeholders, partners and required decision makers early on. Ignoring them and hoping they will come along for the social ride should be avoided.
28. If you don't know the word integration, get familiar with it. Integrating social media into your business requires more than adding a logo to Facebook and a Facebook button to your website. Get ready to roll your sleeves up and get to work!
29. Repeat after me just one more time... "doing social media is not the same as becoming a social business."
30. One thing is for certain with social media and that is things are going to change. So just as you get comfortable get ready to get uncomfortable again.
Don't do social, be social!
35 Social Media Truths
This post is part of a series on social business I am working on "35 Social Media Truths" inspired by keynote presentation I gave at Rochester Institute of Technology. If you want to hear more, sign up for the 35 Social Media Truths Newsletter and you will receive all 35 of them over a period of time. Included will be different mediums such as free webinars, video, blog posts and more.
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