This Thursday for the first time I’ll be speaking in two states on the same day (yeah it sounded pretty cool when I scheduled it months ago). Thursday night I’ll be in Nashville speaking to the Social Media Club chapter about Think Like a Rock Star. But earlier that day I’ll be speaking at the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association’s annual meeting in Huntsville.
In Huntsville I’ll be talking about getting started using social media and how to start creating a social media strategy. Despite what you hear in the ‘social media fishbowl’, many companies aren’t using social media and even fewer are doing so effectively.
If you want to start using social media effectively, there’s three things you need to focus on:
1 – Understanding how the people you want to reach are using social media. The majority of people use social media as personal communication tools and to discover and share content. Not as channels to receive marketing messages. So if you want to connect with potential customers via social media, you need to adjust how you use social media to make it consistent with the experience your customers want and expect. Most Social Media Marketing doesn’t fail because the brand doesn’t understand the tools, it fails because the brand doesn’t understand how its customers are using the tools.
2 – Focus on strategy, not tactics. It’s not about using Twitter and Facebook correctly, it’s about creating a plan that helps you reach defined goals. When I first meet with clients, one of the first things we talk about is what their goals are for using social media. I ask them to answer this question: “What needs to happen in order for this to be a success” If you want to launch a blog, what needs to happen in 90/180/365 days in order for you to see that the blog is ‘working’? Asking these questions helps you decide why you want to use social media, and more importantly, what you want to accomplish via social media.
3 – Measure what matters, not what’s easiest to track. If you start a Twitter account and you are measuring number of followers gained as your way of quantifying that your Twitter account is ‘working’ then #URDoingItWrong. Don’t measure the metrics that are easiest to track, measure the metrics that lead to desired outcomes. If you want to see Twitter drive sales, then figure out which metrics indicate either increased sales or an increased likelihood to buy, and track those.
If you want to use social media then you need to invest time in creating a solid plan and understanding the customers you want to connect with. This is something that applies to any marketing initiative you want to begin. What else do you think companies should focus on before they start using social media?