Originally posted for ListEngage Blog – July 2009
First of all, we’d like to say “Congrats” to those of you who have held their breath and leapt into the often uninviting waters of social media—despite fears and disbelief that “this thing really works”. Believe it or not, you’re still ahead of the curve as far as Web 2.0 users go, and you should be proud that you’ve already taken the plunge.
We’re sorry that you’re not John Mayer, Shaq, Lindsay Lohan or a boatload of other famous people who instantly attained millions of followers upon their entry to Twitterville. And it’s really too bad that your company might not be as exciting to Facebook users as McDonald’s—whose actual business page gets trumped by a grassroots-created page with almost 2 million fans! Don’t worry, we still like you.
The hard-truth is that social media requires time and effort, and you won’t be instantly popular unless you’re already wildy popular in the mainstream media. Even then, there are stark examples of both how well and how poorly well known brands are doing on Twitter, Facebook, and the likes. Check out Kodak versus Fuji Film; Pizza Hut versusDominos. Some sink, others swim.
The honest truth is, you have to “work for it” with social media—and we’ll be the first to admit, it’s not easy: we’ve been grappling with ways to promote our Facebook page on a closed network that’s usually meant for chatting and posting funny pictures. The question to ask yourself is—what do I have to offer that people will be interested in (and what makes my company unique)? Whether that means offering daily discounts, positioning yourself as an“expert” in your field by writing helpful blog posts, or using social media as a forum for direct customer relations, your business will dictate the answers. But the first step is doing it, and doing it consistently.
Just think: if you had just left your two-wheeler in the street the first time you skinned your knee, would you have ever learned to ride a bike? If you hadn’t stopped calling until she agreed to see a movie with you, would you have those two beautiful kids and that stunning wife? The point is, every success story starts with a challenge. Sure, adopting social media is tough, especially when it it takes away from “more important things” like paying bills and making money, but we guarantee that it will pay off in dividends if you treat it like any other challenge, and just “keep at it.”
For now, take some comfort in knowing that you’re not the only one who’s sitting in the office scratching their head and asking “But how the heck does this fit into my business plan?” and be proud—thinking about these problems and finding very few solutions is still a thousand times better than just sweeping them under the rug. Give yourself a pat on the back; then start taking the next steps to help build your social media brand (and boost you social media ego!).