I popped out at lunchtime and looked at shiny, sexy things. I drifted through the gadgets at my local emporium. I gingerly lifted, I touched screens and I barely suppressed my urge to sigh out loud.
In the end though, I came away empty handed. You see, I want a bunch of this stuff, but I don’t need it. It also leads to more gadget buying and soon drains the coffers. You see, I really want an iPod dock to play my mp3s. Trouble is I don’t have an iPod, so I’d have to get one of them. Except I’d rather have it all integrated in one handset so I’d be wanting an iPhone. Unfortunately I still have 4 months on my contract so I’d have to buy that out, and buy the new handset. Then I’d be wanting to buy some apps. And, of course, some mp3s from iTunes…
It’s a slippery slope.
And, for me, a lot of companies are approaching social media in just that manner. They really, really want to get involved but they don’t understand the cost implications. Facebook, Twitter and their ilk may be free to use but the time that your employees take to actually do so is not. You need to work out policy, strategy, implementation and analysis in terms of how much time they take. That’s time that you could be using elsewhere in your business. So think about it very, very carefully.
I’m not saying don’t do it. As a consultant I rely on you for my own business, and I urged directors only yesterday to start taking it seriously. But, in reality, often I find myself telling people that they need to focus elsewhere.
Before you buy your social media gadget you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Are my customers already there?
- Are my competitors already there?
- Do I have something to say?
- Do I have time to listen to my customers and engage with them?
- Do I know how to quantify social media success?
- Am I committed to making this work?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these then go-for-it! Otherwise you need to put more thought into it and think about your communications in a broader sense. You may be better served focussing on traditional media, or other forms of marketing.
I still want an iPhone though…
image credit Maria Li