Why businesses just aren’t getting social media…

I admit it. I am a novice when it comes to social media.  I enjoy blogging and tweeting, but I am only doing this for me…not for a business that sells social media or internet marketing.  That said, I have learned a lot in a very short amount of time about what works and what doesn’t on social media.

Since I never go a day without learning something new, I attended the social media panel discussion last night at UNR.  I really enjoyed the panel discussions because the panel was made up of a good blend of those doing social media for a living and those who do it as a passion (to build their own personal brand).  For the record, the panelists were Mike Henderson – One to One Interactive, Flip Wright – The Glenn Group, Todd Felts – UNR School of Journalism, and Bret Simmons – UNR College of Business

So, after attending last night’s conference and a little bit of soul-searching, here are my thoughts and humble opinion on what companies (both big and small) are doing wrong with social media:

  • Considering/treating social media as just another cog in their interruption marketing strategy wheel—this is a brave new world, you have to step out of your interruption marketing comfort zone.  You will be much better off if you treat social media as a relationship building tool and not a marketing tool. 
    • The point of social media is to make contact with your target audience and have engaging, one-to-one conversations with them.  If you are good at this, the sales will eventually come. Isn’t this interesting?  It is just doing business the “old fashioned way”….virally!  We are not longer a slave to our geography
  • Not having a true social media strategy—Social media seems so easy that many people don’t have a real strategy behind their social media efforts.  They just jump right in and hope for the best.   When that happens, their social media presence to the outside world appears scattered at best.  In addition to wasting your precious time and other resources, not having a social media strategy can really negatively impact your company brand.  It’s just like any branding effort, if you don’t offensively and defensively protect your brand, your competitors and other “naysayers” will be able to define your brand for you.  If a business is getting it wrong, it’s likely because they aren’t:
    • Listening—the number one thing you should be doing on social media is listening.  You need to actively find those talking about your brand—both positively and negatively—and engage them.
    • Bringing (useful) content—Dr. Bret Simmons always says content is king.  And that is an absolute when it comes to social media, especially twitter.  Remember, those of us actively using social media aren’t really interested in you, but what information that you can bring that I don’t already know. 
    • Blogging—and that is really sad.  The “money shot” in social media is driving people to a blog site where you can demonstrate that you are an expert. That’s where your sale will be made.
  • Not putting in the time—I don’t want to scare you but, while “free”, social media takes a lot of time to get it even remotely right.  If you want to do it and do it right, you’ve got to put in the hours (yes hours).  For those of us in the Gen X and  Baby Boomer generation, if you don’t have the time or patience…hire a Gen Yer (or younger even) to help get you started.

 For those of you thinking about jumping into social media full force or just starting a blog, good luck.  And, I am happy to help wherever I can (sharonmarkovsky@gmail.com).

Good luck!  Build your social media strategy today…before your competitor does!

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for writing this up, Sharon! I think you really captured the highlights of the discussion in our post. AND what you are doing here clearly demonstrates that you “get it”. It’s just a matter of time for you…. Keep up the great work! Bret

    Reply

  2. Posted by sharonmarkovsky on March 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Bret,
    Thank you for the kind words. It is critically important for businesses to understand and correctly embrace social media. If I can make a small difference with what I do, so much the better!

    And, as you can probably tell, I am really enjoying my personal branding efforts on social media.

    By the way…I learned from the best! (Dr. Simmons, know him?)

    Sharon

    Reply

  3. Excellent post Sharon. As someone who attended the Panel Discussion and enjoyed it thoroughly, I appreciate your succinct insights on the discussion. You’ve made it easy for me to spread the word.

    Reply

  4. Posted by sharonmarkovsky on March 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Debra,
    Glad you enjoyed the panel discussion and my post. I am happy hear that you are spreading the word about how to effectively use social media!

    Thanks again!
    Sharon

    Reply

  5. Excellent article, Sharon. I love your thoughts and this blog.

    Here’s something by Jeremy Hunt that we posted that might be a good follow-up to your thoughts on the subject: http://www.famefoundry.com/646/the-no-duhs-of-social-media/

    The Architect
    Fame Foundry
    http://www.famefoundry.com

    Reply

  6. Posted by sharonmarkovsky on March 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you for your kind words and your recommendation of Jeremy Hunt’s article. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for recommending it.

    Thanks again!
    Sharon

    Reply

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