A lot of people are really excited about social media and inbound marketing; and justifiably so. However, there seems to be a belief that it’s so easy and costs nothing — and that’s not necessarily so. Yes, it is much less expensive than many broadcast forms of advertising and promotion, and the ROI is typically much greater. So I certainly agree that using social media as a marketing and PR tool is very cost-efficient, but doing it right from a corporate viewpoint ain’t easy and it ain’t free.
You need to make an investment
Organizations should have an online strategy and plan, this takes time and money to develop. Involvement in social media ideally involves staff and management, right up to executive level leadership. This ensures a corporate-wide buy-in and support of the initiative, as well as consistent and approved branding.
Involving all these people, and a structured approach requires an investment in time: monitoring, researching, writing, posting, responding is an ongoing process. And time can be an expensive commodity; some firms have full-time staff dedicated to their social media presence… probably money well spent, but not cheap.
“Do all your social media in just 15 minutes a day!”
I recently received an email from a very large and respected company telling me that I could successfully work my social media in just 15 minutes a day. Anyone who has spent even a little time managing social media accounts will know that this is an absurd claim. But the headline was so intriguing I had to read on and find the catch… or maybe learn their secret.
Well, there wasn’t a catch, or a secret, it was just a misleading headline. They were actually purporting that with a daily 15-minute investment you could keep abreast of all your main social media accounts. Quite frankly, with or without their software (specifically designed to manage social media accounts) their claim is nonsense.
Here is their quick ‘n’ easy recipe for dealing with your daily social media routine:
1. Show Face (5 mins)
Spend the first minute scanning your company Facebook wall to answer any new posts, comments or questions from fans and customers. Then, post an update, add a new product photo, or link to a story about something relevant to your industry. Aim for one new Facebook post per day. If you’re short of ideas, look at current events. Need to drum up business during a particularly hot week, for example? Come up with a fun Facebook coupon code (such as HEATWAVE) for any customer who gets two friends to “like” your page that week.
2. Tweet Away (4 mins)
Do a quick search on trending news in your topic of business. Find a few stories that might be of interest to your customers or industry partners. Tweet one, and schedule a few others to be automatically sent from your Twitter account later in the day. Applications like ours can do this for you.
3. Pin It (2 mins)
Find or upload five great images that relate to your brand and “pin” them to your Pinterest boards. Don’t overthink it. Did you recently witness a great example of customer service, like homemade cookies at the check-in desk of your hotel? Pin that photo under “Inspiration” or “Customer Service.”
4. Blog Roll (3 min)
Review the latest headlines of posts on the influential blogs in your industry. Setting up an RSS feed makes easy to see them all in one place. Read a few, and post comments on one or two (with your Twitter handle or website attached, if possible). This helps to make readers aware of your brand and builds your online network.
5. Give Some Gratitude (1 min)
Did a customer rave about you on Twitter? Tweet back and say thank you. The same goes for positive reviews on Yelp! and other social media forums. Expressing gratitude humanizes your business and makes people want to be a part of your social circle. Take the time to thank customers personally and your business will grow.
Creating valuable content takes time
This timeline may be fine for a 14-year old and their social network (actually, a 14-year old would probably put more thought into what they are posting and how they would be perceived), but it is ridiculously inadequate to provide useful content, genuinely helpful guidance, or considered comments. Good content is critical to be seen as value (on or off-line). Social media provides phenomenally powerful vehicles to publish content, create dialogue and build valued relationships; but it does take some resources (such as time) to do it well.
I don’t mean to come off sounding like a curmudgeon (though it is kinda fun!), nor am I implying anything negative about the company or their software, nor, for that matter, am I implying anything negative about being 14 years old. I am however, surprised that they (the company, not the 14 year-olds) would write such an irresponsible article that takes such a trivial attitude towards an organization’s online presence.
What ridiculous claims have you come across? Or maybe you think I’ve got it wrong, comment below and let me know.