This piece is a companion to Getting Down and Dirty with Your Social Media Questions. On LinkedIn I asked people to reveal the following: What questions do you have about social media but were afraid to ask? I hope I’ve complimented the insightful questions, with equally insightful answers.
Jeremy Fitch, a Junior Copywriter from Columbus, Ohio writes: What are some good strategies to get fans on Facebook without spending money or offering promotional deals? I’m a young professional trying to get deeper into the social media world, but have a hard time answering this question. I know you can include your Facebook page in e-mails and engage your audience once you get some people who like your page. But I have difficulty in suggesting strategies to obtain initial fans without promotional deals, etc. which some small businesses aren’t always willing to roll out for social media, which in their eyes is an unproven market.
Jeremy, an important aspect of social media practice that is unlike traditional marketing and advertising and sometimes difficult for small business owners to wrap their minds around is giving a little something away for free. That doesn’t always have to be products and services, it can also be advice, information, as well as pointing followers to relevant industry resources. Consider following the 80/20 Rule: Talk about what yourself (or company) 20% of the time, and everything else that’s relevant 80% of the time.
Another important aspect to consider: Quantity should not trump quality. Consider Jon Myers, a mobile media entrepreneur and co-creator of the Cornhole All Stars iPhone app. He is the first to live by this rule. His Twitter following hovers around a couple thousand — small in comparison to some — but what he has carved out is a select group of engaged fans. I think for businesses and individuals just starting out, the numbers mean a lot, but what is really important for you as your develop your (or your client’s) digital presence is to aim for high levels of engagement. This comes most easily by developing engaging content. The numbers will come.
Gianluigi Cuccureddu, Marketing technologist from the Netherlands writes: What metrics and such are used for ROI?
Gianluigi — When it comes to ROI the question I ask myself and my clients is: What investment are you really willing to make? As an aside, I recently asked a question on LI regarding biggest obstacles to blogging. What do you think the most popular answer was? Time — of course. Well, I believe to “do” social media well or “use” SoMe effectively (as in the cases sited above), the execution has to be absolutely guided by a strategic approach with a “flexible” idea about returns.
Think of it this way, if the investment is only defined by the time you believe you’re actually wasting by blogging — it seems only logical that you have not defined what return you would like to achieve for the investment you will only reluctantly make. In short, to get a return on your investment, you have to be willing to invest something, whether that’s your time, human resources, or funding to outsource to others potentially.
Associate director of human resources from Columbus, Ohio Barbara Lay writes: I would like to know how (if any) HR departments are doing using social media and which tools they are utilizing as well? Any pros/cons using it?
Jason Shinn, a licensed attorney and owner of Spider Web Designers from Detroit, Michigan wants to says: I am an attorney licensed in Michigan. I am often asked about social media and incorporating it into normal business operations. Before I even address minimizing the risks or offering any other advice, my first question is always “What business purpose is going to be served?” I agree with some of the comments to this question in that there seems to be a bandwagon effect without analyzing whether it makes sense to join.
Jason and Barbara — you both make a really great point: Social media is not an option for every organization or industry. Another way to approach the need for protection/security is to take the best features of one or multiple social media sites and develop (or upgrade) an intranet network. One that comes to mind is Blackboard.
Educational institutions have been using some version of Blackboard for years. From my own experience, I had a love–hate relationship with it. I loved some of the features — closed network, discussion boards, and chat– but I hated navigating it because it always seemed “clunky” to me. Importantly, the consideration has to be given to the audiences you seek to communicate and connect with, internal or external. That distinction can play an important role as well.
Ultimately, every business, industry and person is not benefited by social media. For some reason everyone’s afraid to say it, so, I will.
So, what’s your perspective on any of these question? Have a burning social media question you’ve wanted to ask? Leave below in the comments section.