These 5 signs that a company isn't ready to start using social media tools come from my real-world conversations with company CEOs.
- Your CEO or client says “Let’s get a blog going”. You ask who is going to blog about what. They say “Nobody has time but we can just summarize or talk about other people’s blog posts”.
- Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say OK, what will we tweet?” They say “Our press releases and product info of course, what else would we tweet?”
- Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say OK, who will tweet?” They say “Everyone in the company, but we’ll need legal to approve each tweet first.”
- Your CEO or client says “We need to get everyone talking to each other” You say OK, what do you have in mind? They say “We just sent out a link to < latest corporate social media platform >, that ought to do it.”
- Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say “OK, are our customers and partners on twitter?” They say “Why does that matter, we just need to say we use social media”.
Here are 5 questions to ask when they say they need to get some of that social media stuff going.
- What part of our corporate strategy does this contribute to? This is the key question, ask it first and don’t go any further till you agree on the answer.
- Who is the intended audience? Are the people we want to reach (customers/prospects/partners/influencers) using it? If they aren’t, who do you think will hear and engage with us?
- What do we want to accomplish with our use of social media? Is it to nurture leads, provide support, do market research? Knowing this is critical.
- Are you prepared to invest in this program for the long haul? Social media is not free, just like real life relationships they need ongoing nurturing and engagement from the company.
- How will we know that our programs have been successful? Spend the most time on this question – be sure everyone agrees before you start.
The answers to these questions will tell you 1) if you should be using social media, 2) if you are ready to use social media, and it will start you down the path to deciding what form of social media makes sense to you.
The bottom line is that social media, like all marketing programs needs a plan, a budget, and an ROI. It is not just something you just start “doing”. We know it, now we just need to share this knowledge before too many companies waste more time and money.