Getting social media right for your business is a bit like driving a stick shift—you have to find the right balance of clutch and gas or you’ll stall out.
That balance is different for every car—a Prius doesn’t handle like a Ferrari—and every business.
The key to being the right amount of social for you—not too much and not too little—is to be unfailingly strategic in your choices.
You’re on social media to grow your influence: to build awareness and connect to and engage with your future clients, buyers and centers of influence. To sell your services and products, grow your firm and spread your big idea.
You’re building your revenue and fueling your growth.
So it pays to have a clear—and consistent—social strategy.
Start with a close look at each of what I call the Big Six for consultants and advisors: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.
Maybe you’ve never gotten a single sale from your LinkedIn profile, but it turns out that clients used it before they ever spoke to you to check you out. To see who you’re connected to and how you think. Shouldn’t that make your profile and presence there an important part of your social mix?
Don’t just cross any off your list without a little study. Instagram isn’t just for cute puppies, gorgeous food and arty designers. Used well, it can be pivotal for say a financial advisor, a coach or even a technology consultant.
And laugh all you like about Twitter and its occasional insanity, but it is THE platform for connecting with journalists, media and the pundits in your field. Not to mention a potentially deep source of clients if you can make it work for you.
Do your homework—whether you ultimately handle your own social or fork it over to someone else, you need to make the strategic decisions around your investment.
As you consider each social platform, ask yourself these 10 questions before finalizing your social strategy:
- What is your goal with this social platform—how will it contribute to your brand, your selling and marketing?
- Over what time frame can you expect to see results and how will you measure success?
- Are your sweet-spot clients and buyers well represented on this platform?
- Are your competitors here?
- How about the media you most want to connect with?
- What can you do to differentiate yourself on this platform?
- Does this fit with your natural personality? And if it doesn’t but it’s mission-critical for your message, what support do you need to get for yourself?
- Are you REALLY ready to what it takes to be successful on this site? If you choose Instagram, are you prepared to produce and curate high quality images on a regular basis? On Twitter are you willing to track down your ideal audience and share and engage?
- What results can you reasonably expect in three months? Six months? A year? How does this platform fit with your client/buyer development efforts?
- What’s the cost/benefit of your time spent (or hiring this out) over your expected recoup period?
Like with regular media—and frankly any marketing exercise—it’s better to start small and FOCUS. So maybe you decide to devote a couple hours a week to mastering Twitter. Or building out a Facebook page. Or distributing your content with images on Pinterest.
The key is to stick with your strategy for at least six months while continuing to tweak tactics as you see what works—and what doesn’t.
Yes, social can feel agonizingly slow. But if you’ve done your homework and execute well, it will take off when you hit the right inflection point.
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