4 Hard Lessons About Social Media

6 May

So, you finally made the leap to web 2.0 and created company Facebook and Twitter pages.  After a few weeks of excitement and hard work creating updates, your page has seen almost no action.  What’s going on?
You’re learning some hard lessons:

Hard Lesson #1
Social Media Isn’t The Holy Grail of Marketing.

Many high-priced consultants and self-proclaimed “gurus” love to talk about social media as the be-all and end-all of corporate promotional efforts.  Don’t be fooled.

Social media can be a fantastic marketing tool, as long as:

  1. You’ve researched your target market
  2. They use social media

Think about it: running ads that target multimillionaires inside city buses would be a terrible investment, because most multimillionaires don’t ride the bus. Social media is no exception to this concept.

Before you invest an enormous amount of time creating and maintaining a company Twitter page, make sure that your target audience actually uses Twitter.

Hard Lesson #2
Social Media is Nothing Like Traditional Advertising.

With traditional advertising (e.g. print and TV ads), broadcasting messages of overt self-promotion is expected and normal. People expect that when the commercials come on, you’ll be talking about yourself and how great you are.

This approach absolutely does not work with social media! People respond very differently to overt self-promotion on TV than they do on say, Facebook, because they use TV and Facebook for different purposes:

People tune in to TV shows to get talked at.  They want to sit down, turn their brain off, and let the show entertain them.

People tune in to Facebook to talk with other people. They want to show off their vacation photos, talk to an old friend, and share what’s on their mind.

When they check out your page, they want to interact with the people behind the brand.  They want to know that you are as interested in them as they are in you, and that you’re a real, approachable human being.

Hard Lesson #3
Social Media Takes Time. A Lot Of It.

Many social media newcomers quickly become frustrated with their humble beginnings and give up before ever seeing any substantial results.

When planning your company’s social media strategy, your timeline should be measured in months and years, not days and weeks.  Social media doesn’t spring up overnight!

Social media done right tends to snowball, but keep in mind that snowballs start out tiny.

Hard Lesson #4
You’re Going To Fail.

Starting social media is like freshman year of high school: Learning “the rules” on how to talk, act, and portray yourself is difficult, and you’re going to make mistakes and feel awkward.

The two most important things you can do are:

  1. Experiment
  2. Keep your chin up

If you try one approach and it falls on its face, learn from it and move on.  Don’t sweat the fact that your joke or article was met with silence, because now you know that much more about what your audience doesn’t respond to.

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One Response to “4 Hard Lessons About Social Media”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Benefits of Social Media Done Right « Mediascope, Inc. - May 13, 2011

    […] week we wrote about common misconceptions and difficulties companies face when starting a social media campaign, and if one were to only read that post it might seem like […]

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