I’ve talked a bit about this before, but a lot of the work I do for companies involves consulting with them on how they can best use social media. I will study the company’s current social media efforts (if any), their marketplace, their competitors’ efforts, their resources, their goals for social media, and then give them an evaluation of their current situation and a recommended course of action moving forward.
Earlier this year, I performed this social media strategy audit for a smaller company. After presenting the results and my findings to the company, I was on a conference call with the owner and his son, who was the marketing manager, discussing what their next steps should be. My findings, coupled with the company’s resources and what they wanted to accomplish via social media, suggested that they could probably benefit from launching a company blog.
But I wasn’t convinced that the company could handle running a blog. In my previous talks with the marketing manager, I got the impression that they could only devote 1 person to the blog, and I didn’t feel that they really understood how much of a workload would be required. I was recapping my findings with the owner and his son, and the owner remained silent while the son did all the talking.
After about 30 mins, I wasn’t at all convinced that the company was ready to commit to writing the blog, and was willing to put the time and effort into it. And quite frankly, I didn’t think the company had the passion that would be required to maintain it.
I finally decided that it was time to cut to the chase, and see if they were serious or not. So I told the son that I thought that a blog could work for his company, but that I didn’t believe they had the resources available to commit to the project long-term, and that I quite frankly didn’t think they could devote the time and energy necessary to sustain the blog.
The owner decided to speak up for the first time. “Look” he said in a slightly irritated tone, “I can DO this! I love this business and I know how to talk to my customers! I can do this, I want to do this!”
I was grinning from ear to ear as I told the owner that was exactly what I wanted to hear! “You just hit on the reason why you need to blog. You have a passion for your business and your customers. THAT is what you need to pour into your blog.”
This is the main point I was trying to make in my previous post about how having a strategy doesn’t make you social. Social is what you ARE. It’s how you use the tools. Companies tend to forget that social media tools are tools that people use to communicate with each other, as well as create and share content.
It’s not a set of tools to exchange marketing messages. So if you want to connect with people via these tools, you need to have your head and heart in the right place. Not to spread a marketing message, but to CONNECT with them.