All this social media stuff doesn’t work!

So many people scoff when I tell them how active I am on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ecademy and about 30 other networks.  “I don’t have time for all that,” they say, “It’s a time waster – and, anyway, it doesn’t work.”

“What do you want it to do?”  I ask.

It’s a question guaranteed to stop most people in their tracks.  The responses I get vary from a shrug to a bit of preliminary mumbling followed by “More sales!”

I can be really horrible and ask a lot more tough questions (I was trained as a coach once) like:

“Do you like people selling to you on social media?”

“Do you have a marketing strategy for your business?”

“How much time to do you invest in networking offline?”

I’ve tried asking some of these questions, but they scare people!

So here’s my opportunity to explain about why social media doesn’t work – and how it can work very well indeed.

History lesson

Social media has been around since the 1990s, Ecademy launched in 1998.  LinkedIn appeared early in 2003, followed by Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006.  They’re not going away so people who don’t use their free services are missing a marketing opportunity.

Activity

Social media needs consistency – so one tweet a fortnight isn’t enough.  If you’re not making any noise people don’t know you’re there.  If you have a Facebook business page you need to keep it active, it won’t happy all on its own.  If you have a LinkedIn profile you need to be seen in groups and on the Q&A section for people to know you exist and get to know you.

Time management

The time issue is important – it’s true that you can get distracted and find a morning or afternoon has disappeared if you’re not careful.  However, most people are willing to attend one networking meeting a week to promote their business and meet people who may either become customers or refer them to others who need their products or services.

The challenge for most people is that it’s easy to get sucked in and spend half a day chatting to people about inconsequential trivia.  I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have conversations, but they should be a conscious investment of time.

The average networking event lasts a couple of hours plus travelling time.  It’s part of your marketing effort – why would you not be willing to invest three hours a week in marketing online too?

Be interactive

Remember the key is in the word ‘social’ – it’s about relationships, conversations and getting to know people.  Technology simply makes it possible to get to know people who you would be unlikely to ever meet any other way.

Use the tools that make it easy so one action reaches many different social media platforms; attach your new social media habit to your old email habit so you make it easier to keep up.

Actually, social media does work – it takes time (like any other marketing activity); it’s not a sales platform, but it does raise your profile, demonstrate your expertise and create relationships that extend your reach far beyond what you can achieve any other way.

Written by Lesley Morrissey

Lesley Morrissey

I’ve written since I was at Primary School and achieved ‘fame’ by having a poem read on the BBC Schools programme at the age of 9! Since then I’ve written features for newspapers and magazines and, this century, commercial copy for businesses big and small.

The aim is to persuade my client’s target audience to take action so copy needs not only to be in their ‘voice’, but also to be written for the reader full of juicy benefits.

In other lives I’ve been a training manager, an HR manager, a quality director and a speaker.

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