As we often do, we gathered yesterday as a team to discuss what’s new in our industry and, of course, social media was the major topic of discussion. Not since the advent of Web design have I seen a phenomenon grow so quickly and garner so much attention. It’s remarkable to be witness to its emergence, and to watch how quickly things change and evolve.
Unless you live and breathe it everyday, it can seem as though time is passing you by. It is daunting and overwhelming for some to try to keep pace, or to know where to start. But what is undeniable is that social media in one way, shape or form, is playing a role in your overall marketing strategy. Or, if it’s not, it should be.
True, it’s not for everybody. And not every tool available to the social networking set is right for every company or every person. I would not blindly recommend that every client I have be on Twitter. Or that every company create a Facebook page. But there are some things that every company should at least consider. To start, consider the following:
• Are your audiences using some form of social media?
• Are your competitors leveraging social media in any way?
• Are the media that cover your industry frequenting and utilizing social networking sites?
• Do you want search engines to find you?
The answer to all is most definitely yes. To ignore the momentum is foolhardy. To untap the potential inherent in these cost-effective, incredibly popular instruments of collaboration, conversation and connection is wasting an opportunity.
A very basic social media initiative, even one with minimal time commitment on your part, will at very minimum:
• Elevate your company’s Web presence and search engine rankings
• Open channels of communication to customers, partners, colleagues and media
• Position your company and its team members as progressive and leaders
• Provide just one more point-of-contact for your company to your constituents
Like I said, you don’t need to jump in blindly with both feet, but you need to at least determine if there are opportunities, and develop a strategy to pursue them. The time is now. If you’re wary of the time commitment, start small.
Things you could do today, with little time and financial investment:
• Create a LinkedIn profile for your company and its key personnel
• If you don’t have time to create your own blog; comment on industry blogs
• Make sure all company news is online, in index-able html format
• Create “homemade” videos and post them to video networks, such as YouTube or Vimeo
• Create a Flickr account to host company photos
On the other hand, I would put the following into the “Look before you leap” category:
• Your company blog
These tools, if done correctly, will be time-consuming. If they’re not, you’re doing it wrong. Be realistic what you are asking, and of whom. But don’t be afraid to ask for help.