Ready, Fire, Aim!

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Image by reeltor99 via Flickr

In life there always seem to be more ways to fail than to succeed, and Social Marketing is no exception.

I think the use of social media is easy for small businesses and professionals. They can use free or low cost tools to position their goods or services for delivery to their intended market and when they use them properly to position themselves as trusted members of their online communities. Because of the democratization of publishing there are few barriers to reaching audiences of  any geographic or demographic description. And yet people keep finding ways to make it more complicated or less effective.

The drive to be perceived as involved seems to outweigh the need to think about how to be involved. The ease of registration and participation iin online channels leads to poorly executed strategy- the old ready, fire, aim that has plagued businesses forever.

People join LinkedIn because it seems to be about business. They hear that people are successful in obtaining business using Facebook so they have join Facebook to create a persona profile and use it for business purposes. They create Facebook Pages because they hear that a having a Facebook page is a good strategy. They get a twitter account and try to follow as large a group as possible so that they in turn will be followed. They join everything and have as their plan using these channels for the broadcast advertising that they are most familiar with.

I’m a fan of social media and social marketing. I’m also a fan of a multi-channel approach to social marketing engagement for a wide variety of reasons that will probably be the source of another blog post here. But I am not a fan of of “faux engagement”  or participation without consideration. Obviously I am a fan of social media education, but some of it just doesn’t seem to have a sustainable strategy for the students.

So as you create your plans moving forward, perhaps you might want to answer a few questions before you choose a social media channel or strategy;

  1. Who do I want to reach?
  2. Where can I reach them?
  3. What do they care about and what do they need?
  4. How can I provide that to them?
  5. What is my goal and how can I measure my success?

It’s not a lot to ask, and the answers should help you think about not only what you will do, but why you are doing it and what you wish to accomplish. And with that in mind, you might just hit the target you’re aiming for.

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