Social Media: The Friend You Need to Stop Ignoring

A 2 minute read written by Erika April 26, 2012

Erika with a Twitter bird

I am so mad that I didn't come up with Twitter.

As someone who said her first word (“dada” - much to my mother’s dismay) at the age of 9 months, and has been sharing her lively witticisms ever since, it seems only natural that I would come up with this monumental communications tool. I really missed the boat (or yacht) on that one. Ah well, the next best thing is that I get to use social media every day to help others make the most of their projects and communications plans!

Social media can be tricky. It's so new and there are few true experts on the subject. Coupled with an overwhelmingly constant stream of marketing "how to" lists and an endless amount of books, by the time you've finished reading everything the information is almost always out of date.

I notice many companies using social media to talk at their clients, not with them. Social Media should be viewed less as a marketing tool and more as a communications tool. The most valuable feature social media offers you and your company is the opportunity to listen to your audience and to learn from them what you could be doing. Stop telling your audience what they want!

Converse with your audience

There are companies who are afraid to delve into the world of social media because they are worried about losing control of their brand. In actuality, companies never truly had control over their brand. A brand is how your audience perceives you. So social media actually offers a channel for you to finally be a part of the conversation around your brand. Eric Qualman, author of Socialnomics states, Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. If you were hoping to ride this one out, you are missing a giant opportunity to truly understand your business, your target, and your potential.

Social Media isn’t scary, it’s fun! I communicated with an audience of nearly 2 million and believe me, every day wasn’t smooth sailing. But the beauty of social media is that messaging has a short lifespan. You are liberated and have the opportunity to take risks and try new angles – you can really engage. Tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start, a fresh message.

That being said, you need to be cognisant of what you say online because everything said on the Internet is pretty permanent. As Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff say in their book Groundswell, taking something off the Internet is like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool. A fact that Anthony Weiner learned the tough way.

Know what you want from Social Media

Before diving into social media it is so important to assess your goals. Determine what you want to get out of your social media experience. Once you have figured that out, you can determine what channels you should be using. For example, “Bob’s Plumbing” probably doesn’t need a Facebook account. But a Twitter feed, executed properly, could be an interesting and possibly entertaining way to reach out to an audience. I’m sure a few tweets about flushed iPhones would warrant some retweets. Most Social Media channels are free to use; aside from your time, you can experiment and have fun with it!

And if you have any questions or need help aligning your goals and objectives to your social media plans, well, then send us a tweet!