SOCIAL MEDIA: DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Social Media 15 Comments


In 2010, we saw the awareness of Social Media rise among firms, and the acceptance of Social Networking became more common.

However, it’s important to remember that the use of Social Media is still in its infancy.  This means that we are still learning and testing best uses, methods, approaches and tools to figure out how they best fit our brand.

I think that makes this era very exciting.  These are tools that are being built and developed by others, but WE are the ones who are deciding how we want to use them.  The ball is in our court.  The use of these tools can help us accomplish our goals if we put some

  • Time
  • Energy
  • Strategy
  • Passion
  • People

behind them.  This is not a time or  a place to look for shortcuts.

Time

Like any long-term relationship-building tools or practices we have used in the past, Social Networking takes time.  We can not expect to establish our profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MH Connected and other sites one day, and have productive relationships the next day, week, month and sometimes even year.   This is not a sprint.  It’s a marathon that has many finish lines based on the goals you have set.  It’s not a one-time campaign, but a commitment.

Energy

Yes, commitment takes energy.  There are some days when we just don’t feel like talking to people.  We don’t feel like picking up the phone, sending an email, driving to that board meeting or doing anything that has to do with another human being.  We can all get away with that for a day or two every now and then, but not for long.  If we expect to grow our practices, we have no choice but to expend the energy necessary to get out and connect with our clients and potential clients.  This is no different with Social Networking.

Strategy

Some say we can overthink Social Networking by worrying about strategy.  As a marketer, I have been running around strategic sales, management and marketing for over 20 years in various capacities, and at various levels. What I know for sure is that on those occasions when we took the time to think about what we wanted to accomplish, with whom, when we wanted to do it, how we planned on doing it, who would be responsible for what tasks, how much it would cost, and what it would look like if we were successful, the results were always much more rewarding and productive.  We were focused.

Passion

Social Networking takes passion; passion to learn, passion to ask for help when it’s needed, passion to want to actually interact with the people we need to get to know as well as those we want to get to know, passion to stay the course when we’re tired, passion to get in the game when we’d rather be doing something else, and the passion that draws us to want to be here instead of somewhere else.  We also must have passion for what we are offering our clients, as well as passion for our clients.  Trust me, it shows when there’s no passion behind a Social Networking effort.

People

You can’t do any of this without the right people.  You can automate the delivery of just about anything having to do with marketing, but you can’t have an effective presence in Social Media without living, breathing, thinking human beings that have the skills and talents necessary to know how to talk to people, to follow up on something someone said, to look for opportunities to share information, to find ways to share what others have posted, to think fast when something looks wrong, or to know what to do when presented with an opportunity.  If you want to be in this game, you have to commit to having the right people to get it done.

What would you add to this list?

Thanks to Phil Roeder for the use of the image above.

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15 comments
Ken Seiter
Ken Seiter

Very good points. We are in the process of developing our Social Media strategy and our thinking is definitely aligned with everything you mention here. The one other thing we are concerned about is because we deal primarily in a B-to-B trade environment, how do we manage the information flow and dialog and maintain the content for our audiences in Social Media without stifling what is great about this new medium.

Nora Riva Bergman
Nora Riva Bergman

Excellent article, Nancy.  And Larry says something very important-there are only so many hours in the day to be focused. So, I'd add focus to the time commitment. 

You have to make the time to focus on social media. Put it in your calendar & make it a habit. Maybe a quick check-in first thing in the morning.  Then just before lunch & at the end of  day.  If you blog, block time to write. Don't let yourself get sucked into the social media vortex for hours at a time or be interrupted all day long by constantly monitoring your feeds. If you do, you'll be drowning in other areas of your work!

Larry Bodine
Larry Bodine

Nancy,
Very thoughtful advice from you, as always. In your strategy discussion, I would emphasize that it's important to be goal-oriented. If you are, then all the other pieces fall into place. As you put it, "We were focused."

As you know, I'm active on Twitter, LinkedIn and on my blog. I need to get active on Facebook. I've tried lots of other channels, but I focus on the ones where I get responses and results. There are only so many hours in the day and you have to be focused.

Leah Swearingen
Leah Swearingen

"Random Acts of Marketing." I love it! Trust me, I'm gonna quote you on that one.

Leah Swearingen
Leah Swearingen

Nancy: Excellent article. I know you are a big advocate for strategy, which I deeply appreciate. In today's go-go world, many are tempted to execute without a plan. That's ill-advised under any circumstances, and can be very injurious in Social Media. Thanks for holding the standards high.

Tom Cochrun
Tom Cochrun

Nancy-
Great points. I'd add it must all comprise an integrative effort. Nothing is done in isolation anymore.
An activity through one network may ripple, but this does not suggest that a one column effort is enough. Each community has its own attitude and function. Yes, there can be some synergy, but each message, posting, initiative and effort should be a "designed" and intentional effort.

Another obvious benefit of the many networks is the early learning. It is here that people in particular business zones can sense that first "news", trend, movement and etc. Someone in a company needs to not only monitor but to also report that up and out. It is a marvelous new "trip wire."

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

Of course I have what it takes, can't you see me blowin' up over here............

Yes, to all of the above. Time being the biggest component for me and how to use it effectively and efficiently. Somebody let me in the door (Ms Gini) and I've been playin' around but now I have to go backwards and figure out the intricacies to be more effecient. I'm a relationship guy so with my limited time I just want to jump in and start talking w/ everyone.

I don't really have a model or a plan which can ultimately bring me down, but right now I'm strictly recreational with it and developing some relationships with really great people (like you.....:). How can I go wrong there, huh?

If my plan was to monetize or at least elevate where I am with my payin' gig, I have some ideas and at some point I might pursue that path. I would definitely develop a strategy (business plan) before I just took off however.

Good post Ms Nancy, we have a few more days of rain but hoping to clear it all out for your convention next week.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

Have you already developed your Social Media strategy at this point? How did it go? I think the best thing to remember is that finding ways to encourage people to interact with you, and then to constantly watch and listen to them, leads to the kind of interaction you desire. That way you won't stifle any activity. Even when people have differing opinions, that's okay, as it gives you a chance to shine.

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Hi Nora, and thanks for your kind comments. Yes, it is very easy to be drawn to Social Media like a magnet. Sometimes people have to go through this step to understand exactly what it is that needs their focus and strategy. I've seen and experienced this myself. I often tell people that, by all means, go right ahead and dive in to Social Media without strategy, but readjust your expectations accordingly. Thanks for stopping by!

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Larry, yes focus is key in this, and all, marketing activity. There is no strategy without goals, so your point is perfect. I think it's perfectly fine to maximize your presence on one, then two, then maybe a third Social Networking site. You/we don't have be active on all of them from the start. Thanks for contributing!

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Hi Leah...thank you so much for taking time to comment here. Yes, I've spent too many years watching "Random Acts of Marketing" that might be fun to do, or might seem to make sense in the moment, but that don't necessarily accomplish any of the hard or soft goals the firm or practice has established. Thanks for noticing that I continue to emphasize strategy. It's so nice to see you.

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Hi Tom! How nice to see you here on my blog...welcome! Thank you for your thoughtful response, which was right on target. Your points about intentional effort, coordination, early learning and appropriate sharing and reaction are exactly what need to be kept in mind. You have much to share with your media and journalism background, so I'm thankful that you took a few moments to do so.

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Hi Bill! Thank you very much for stopping by to comment. I don't think your strategy of playin' around for a while is a bad one. Heavens, look how many of us cut our teeth on Social Networking by doing just that. It's good to have a feel for what we're trying to develop strategy for before we sit down and get serious. I think you're doing great, and seem to be more than on your way to targeting, focusing, conversing and using these media as complements to your business. My 10-day forecast for Orlando is looking pretty good, so THANKS for raining this week so it will be nice and green! :-)