Adopt Social Media or Die

If you don’t implement social tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn into your business in 2010, your business will die.  Wiped off the face of the earth by the newer tech savvy crew that is breathing down your neck. Well, maybe not, but I really wanted to get your attention, and that seemed like it might work. Because change is inevitable and you should embrace it so you are not overwhelmed by it.

After all Business is always changing.  Consumer communication is always changing.  Adaptation to the changing world is crucial to long-term business success but that doesn’t mean that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like represents that adaptation that you need.  Adaptation and adjustments need to be made based on your target market and how your consumer base is changing. They are the indicators of the changes you need to make.

If you are looking at your long-term success (or even your success in the short term) , here are a some questions to help you determine how you need to adapt for the future:

1.    What do your consumers need?  Not my customers- YOURS.
2.    How can you satisfy their needs?  A good product and quality customer service is crucial.  A customer’s bad experience can now be shared quickly across the web.  Making customers happy and retaining them is far more important than ever before.
3.    What marketing tools are working in your business right now?  I mean really working, not just the ones you like, or are used to, but the tools that provide a measurable return. What marketing tools are not effective for you? Which tools are you using out of habit?
4.    Where are your clients spending their time?  How can you reach them? And what will you say when you do?
5.    How can social media tools enable you to reach more potential customers? How can you use those tools to connect with them in a way that is important to them? How can they improve the satisfaction of your existing customers thereby improving their connection with you?

These are important questions to answer. They should be used to aid you in crafting a business plan.  Many people talk about creating a social media plan without a strategy.  Planning to use social media tools can be important, but it is not effective unless it is one piece of a solid business strategy that addresses
a.    What your consumers want and need
b.    How you can help them
c.    How that helps you reach your overall business goals.

If you intend to use social marketing tools for business purposes, you must have an actionable plan developed as part of a thoughtful strategy. Anything less is like throwing darts blindfolded – and about as useful.