I am all over social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and several bookmarking sites) but am not getting much in return for the effort. How can I get more traction?
Consider the intent of your social media strategy. It is easy to engage in setting up accounts, participating in forums and referring people to your profiles. Some consultants, however, fail to start with the end in mind, instead feeling that they must have a social media "presence" and will figure out later how it will work. Before you engage in social media in a significant way, consider two issues (these do not include the mechanics of the strategy itself). First, recognize that you are asking people to make an investment in you and your content. Although they do not "pay" in a traditional sense, their interaction with you takes time they could be spending elsewhere. Make sure that you are providing a lot of free, useful and timely content to compensate for their investment. Nobody cares about your business except in ways that benefit them.
Second, recognize that the type of audience you pursue means as much as the volume of attention you attract. Facebook use is rapidly expanding for business, but is it a place your target audience knows and cares about? In which forums do you participate, and are those ones your customers care about? Can you devote significant time to the care and feeding of your social media activities? Are you evaluating your return on investment? How much content do you need to generate, and give away, to justify your target's investment of time to interact with you? Are the types of people you attract compelled to use your services or are they just interested in using your content?Tip:
It is seductive to launch into social media activities because the investment is low (usually free) and largely a do-it-yourself activity. Consider that a gift, but also that the real investment is in the maintenance and operations. Given the total cost of operations for an effective social media strategy, spend more time thinking through how you will generate content and create community around that content. Balance your expectations against the total, and sustained, investment you are making. © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA