The blogosphere is bloated with the pros and cons of social media for businesses. Everyone has a point of view, but a lot of them are so wrapped up in their advocacy that they miss the point.
Namely, “Why are we doing this?”
It seems like businesses spend way too much time thoughtlessly devoted to participating in social media because it’s popular or “experts” say it’s important as a channel or your competitors are “in that space” or because that’s what the big brands do….
Yes, organizations should use social media. But the hidden cost of social media is the time it takes to sustain your presence. Your organization can go small, medium, or large with a commitment as fits your budget, but without that commitment, your strategy will fail.
So start with “What are we trying to achieve to advance the mission of our organization?”
Then you can create a strategy that devotes resources that are appropriate, sustainable, and within your budget of time and money.
Non-profits and social action groups, for example, need to spread the word to grow their community to advance their overall mission. That’s a very strong alignment with what social media can deliver. With that purpose front and center, even smaller ones can devote significant personnel resources to the social media channel on a daily or weekly basis.
For profits, on the other hand, might want to be more incremental in their social media purposes considering they have other dollars working in other channels.
For example, if yours is a smaller business, your purpose can be as simple as maintaining a current Web presence so those that visit your site will see current information rather than having a negative impression from seeing a site that obviously hasn’t changed from the day it was started.
You can start with a Web site you can update yourself. And choose a single social network that has the members you want to reach to view your site. As you update your site with a sale or new product or service, you can send a tweet to followers and/or post to your social network.
And think about a blog for your site. It’s not that hard (or time-consuming) to create more than one short new blog post each month. It not only engages your audience, it’s one of the best SEO tactics to increase your ranking on the major search engines to bring new viewers to your site.
Most importantly, start with purposes that you can comfortably sustain. You can always add more resources and personnel devoted to a more complex strategy.