Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
When thinking about setting up social media for your business, the first of many questions to ask is “why?” Are you doing it to position yourself as an industry leader? Are you doing it to educate the public? Are you using it to generate sales? Are you doing it for brand awareness? You’ve got to ask yourself all of these questions.
You also need to understand who your target client is. What social media platforms are they most like to interact with? If you have demographic information for your target client, it should give you a pretty clear direction. But you also have to determine what you want to accomplish, and make sure you can actually follow through. Don’t open a Facebook account if you’re only going to check it for five minutes a week. Having a Facebook account and not checking it is like having a phone number, publishing it and never answering calls or checking the voicemail.
Once people see that you’re inactive or that you’re not responding to comments in a timely manner, they’re out. Social media is a real time platform; it’s not a “we’ll get back to you next week” platform. It’s almost like a living organism you have to take care of. You wouldn’t let your dog run around the back yard for three weeks and expect him to be fine when you finally check in on him, would you?
You also shouldn’t engage in social media if you don’t like people. If you don’t want to talk to individuals genuinely, stay off social media or find someone else who can do it for you. How your company interacts with your public is your brand. If you’re doing a social media site that’s unresponsive and inactive, that then becomes part of your brand. You can potentially do much more harm than good if you set up social media but don’t take the time to set it up as a viable part of your organization.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s really no such thing as engaging in too many social media platforms; not if the engagement is real, that is. If you’re just regurgitating other people’s content and using someone else’s quotes, and not actually engaging with anyone, then you need to reassess your strategy.
If your brand can support Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and you’re always generating content and engaging with people, that’s great. But if you’ve only set up an account on a social media platform because you can or it’s there, then delete it. The signal to noise ratio can dilute your brand if you’re not creating real engagement.
I’ve worked with clients on social media strategies, and sometimes they want to go in a direction I think won’t be beneficial for their brand. Recently, I worked with a client whose social media accounts weren’t up to the level I thought they should be at. I told them to put a freeze on all of their accounts, and to put together a feasible strategy for one of their platforms for three months. The idea is to see if they can pull it off with the amount of resources they are willing to give it. If they can, they can start adding in other platforms, but not before.
You’ve got to walk before you can run, and you need to learn how to optimize your presence on one social media platform before moving on to another. Why try balancing 6 spinning plates at a time when you can’t even balance one properly? The only thing that will happen is you’re going to end up doing brand damage. Create real engagement, and be amazed by the results.