Thursday, July 11, 2013

If One Thing Could Fix Your Social Media Campaign, This Is It

One WayMost business owners and business leaders spend too much time, with too little return, on social media. Usually that's because they are engaging in social media activities that might feel good but don't bring results. Instead of spending more time on social media, it's better to spend less time, but to focus on activities that position you as an expert in your industry.

Many social media experts will tell you that the only way to succeed with social media is to be constantly engaging with your customers, monitoring their online conversations and responding promptly to concerns and problems. That is important for some businesses, especially for people in a customer service role or a marketing role. But if you're a leader - whether it's a thought leader, business leader or business owner - you should be using social media as another channel for leadership, not just customer service or marketing.

Your job as a leader is to think about strategy - and then communicate it effectively to the people who matter. It's not to engage in inane chatter with anybody and everybody who wants to "follow" you.

If there's one thing that will make the biggest difference to your social media presence, this is it: Use social media for distributing content, not for having conversations.

In other words, stop thinking of social media as a two-way communication channel where you listen, respond and engage in conversations. Instead, use it as a (mostly) one-way communication channel where you speak, share and distribute your key strategic messages.

Be warned that this is a radically different way of viewing social media, and is the exact opposite of what many social media experts say. So be prepared for some resistance from your marketing team, your social media consultants, and even perhaps your own prior thinking. But keep in mind that this is about leadership first, not customer service and marketing. Marketing is about meeting your customers' needs, and customer service is about keeping your customers happy. But leadership is different - for example:

  • Leaders don't spend all day chatting with customers and employees.
  • Leaders don't spend all their time looking for ways to get more random people to become followers, friends or fans.
  • Leaders don't necessarily care whether their messages are liked (as long as they are effective).
  • Leaders don't engage in shallow, meaningless conversations and chit-chat.

That's not to say that you can't occasionally do any of these things as a leader - and of course you do. But they are not part of your main focus in your daily life, so they shouldn't be part of your main focus in social media either.