Sunday, January 24, 2010

Social Media: Fight the Hype; Find the Focus

Listening to the hype about Social Media is a bit like listening to a politician right before election day. There isn't anything Social Media can't do for you and, just like a politician, no promise is too outlandish to make. Social Media will help you lose weight, make $87 an hour, get your dream job and meet hot local singles who've been looking for you.

So, I understand the skeptics who are reluctant to jump into the pool just because all the cool kids are hanging out there. And many postings about Social Media do more to foster skepticism than counter it.

Consider this posting:

56 Social Media Sites Every Business Needs To Be On is exactly my point. No one needs to be on 56 Social Media sites. If you think you do, your business lacks focus.

I run a small PR firm in the US. Do I really need to be on SEEK, Australia's #1 Recruitment, Career and Employment site?  The list has sites I've never heard of and sites that would do nothing except rob me of time to serve my clients. The guy who wrote this post gets points for a title that grabs attention. Not sure he considered the type of attention inspired by the title.

Let's get some perspective here. My clients really don't care what social networks I'm on. What they care about is that I deliver what I say I'm going to deliver in the manner in which they expect. If I miss a deadline, I can hear them say, "You've got time to blog, but you couldn't get my Strategic Communications Plan done?"

So, when you read that you'll be missing out if you don't sign up RIGHT NOW, I recommend taking a big, deep breath. Figure out what you want to accomplish with your communications. Then, talk to  colleagues in your industry and see what is working for them. Talk to your clients, customers and vendors.

Pay attention to subtle changes in the way people communicate. For example, is it just me or is no one leaving voice mails anymore? I have a lot of missed calls and very few messages. I'm secretly thrilled because I don't like voice mail.

Pay attention to the hype, but don't get swept up in it. Make Social Media work for you, not the other way around. Use Social Media to serve your company's business strategy.

And, If those crazy Social Media pitches become irresistible? Give me a call and I'll talk you down. Just don't leave a voice mail.

Bill Salvin

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