Just recently as part of my association with Wokingham-based Marketing agency Fortune West we attended a Q&A session with a potential client in the software space. We spoke about a lot of things including marketing as part of a strategic business plan, mapping content to different stages of the buying cycle, video content, mobile optimisation and so on. Nothing particularly suprising there, but perhaps the most suprising part was that we spoke about social media for approximately one minute, I wasn't timing it but it may even have clocked in at around 42 seconds. Were we ignoring it? Not at all, but to take the business to where they want to go will require more than just nibbling around the edges with social media.
Yes we know about the 'rules of engagement' on social channels. Yes we can manage multiple social media accounts and feed back useful data. Is it a good thing to do? Of course. If you've got something interesting to say and something useful to share. Newflash! Social media is not a means to an end and it is not the proverbial silver bullet. The problem is the gates are low and everybody's jumped in, that means it's a very noisy place and people are reaching for the ear plugs.
What social channels need is content. They're ravenous for the stuff, but it's not any old content, it likes the really good stuff. The well-prepared, wholesome and nutritious content. The gourmet stuff. Without it you're simply engaging in conversations about nothing. Small talk is a good way and get to know people and build trust, but it's a nice aperitif; nobody recommends a restaurant that fails to deliver a main course.
What you also need is a plan—feel free to call it strategy if you're that way inclined. The plan needs to include a few things: why are we doing this; what are we hoping to achieve (heck yes, we need metrics!); who is going to do this? when are we going to do this (some kind of editorial calendar)? That's not being clinical, it's being realistic. There are people who will say it's all about instinct and the touchy-feely stuff. All well and good, but if you're using it to further your business goals you'll need to show some return on investment.
So yes to social media, but we needn't go on about it. Having a simple plan and crafting some gourmet content for the delectation of our audience, that's how you get rave reviews.