Should My Company Join the Social Media Revolution

Social Media is the latest Internet phenomenon. Viral videos, blogs, networks, tweets, are just among the hundreds and thousands of ideas, concepts, and mediums being popularized by the millions followers. However, it seems that unless a company employs 20-somethings, or have a employee base that is technologically adept, their attempts at entering the social media arena is just a blunder. Mashable published a post on 35 companies that have made good attempts. There’s another list of 234.

Don’t do it just to do it

Quite often, companies jump into “social media” because of a recommendation from marketing, or from a dinner meeting tip from other partners. They then setup a blog and simply regurgitate their corporate marketing materials. Customers and consumers are very keen. They see right through it. Traditional media such as print advertising and tv advertising works because it’s clear that it’s advertising. Social media can be used as a tool for having a conversation, or exploited to promote products and services.

Take the current presidential campaign. Almost every candidate has some type of facebook page, twitter updates, and so forth.

Dr. Lee, OutRun meeting
Creative Commons License photo credit: G A R N E T

Develop a Strategy for Entering Social Media

Before a company, either corporate or small business considers joining the social media revolution, it should develop a strategy for doing so:

  1. Determine vision and goals – This includes developing a set of outcomes you wish to achieve. It can be to build upon an existing brand, business development, market a product or service, or simply to open up to the world.
  2. Review existing implementations – There’s a couple links at the introduction that lists existing companies use of social media. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just terrible. Spend time following a couple companies or individuals to see the “conversation” or story that comes with social media.
  3. Develop content – Social media is give and take. It’s not all take. For example, if using Twitter, the tweets should provide freebies to the readers. It shouldn’t be a constant daily posting of links to your site. Provide some value to the subscriber. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow some of your fans as well. They can provide instant feedback on your progress.
  4. Interact – Just having a facebook page, a blog, or any of these mediums for the sake of having one doesn’t mean you or your company is “in the loop.” Truly understand what it’s all about, even before participating. When you finally do join, contribute to the daily conversation. At first, it may all seem erratic and not a real “conversation.” However, over time, the noise clears out and you really do see the feeling of the crowd.
  5. Get Feedback – Listen to comments posted on your blog, or responding tweets, and so forth. Your followers will provide you feedback if you’re posting too much, commercializing yourself, or not sharing enough information. You’ll find out quickly, you just have to listen.
Bottom line: Social Media can be a very powerful tool for research and for marketing. Use properly, it can propel your cause or company. Use for only business purposes, it can destroy your reputation.
Great Resources:
  • Facebook Pages: Using Them to Benefit Your Organization, PR Interactive
  • Know some? Leave comments.

Published by Daniel Hoang

Daniel Hoang is a visual leader, storyteller, and creative thinker. As an experienced management consultant, he believes in a big picture approach that includes strong project leadership, creative methods, change management, and strategic visioning. He uses a range of visual tools to communicate business challenges, solutions, and goals. His change strategy is to build "tribes" of supporters and evangelists to drive change in culture and organization. Daniel is an avid technologist and futurist and early adopter.

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