As various and assorted people scramble, scrounge and hustle to stay on top of digital platforms and tools with the hopes of selling you on themselves as cutting edge rainmakers, digital Mr. Miyagis or the smartest kids on the block whose opinion is the one worth hearing, chances are you’ll be made to feel behind the times, unable to build your community fast enough or get the sales/prospects you thought would be pouring in. Meanwhile, the dirty truth sits off in the corner, whispering to you: You don’t need any of it. None of this is essential and no one tool will solve your problems.
The simple fact is this: if you don’t think about what you’re doing and have some sort of high-level game plan, nothing’s going to help your business. I’m intentionally choosing to push past “social’s for social, not business” rhetoric and firmly plant us somewhere that may actually have value for you. Before you test out every shiny new digital toy or plant your flag in each brave new digital world, take a second to think about what it is you’re trying to achieve.
You’re about to gain access to a large community of people to listen to, engage with and eventually earn the loyalty of. In the end, what’s their takeaway? Is it a deeper understanding of what you do well and an excitement about your product/service? Is it the humanization of your brand, creating the opportunity for you to create a deeper connection with your consumer community? Is it outstanding support? Increased traffic leading to action? I can’t answer those questions for you, because I don’t work for you or with you. If YOU can’t answer them, then your problems definitely can’t be fixed by Hootsuite, Radian6 or whatever new tool makes Twitter and Facebook scalable for your company. Problems connecting with consumers in the social space are created and can be solved at the simplest macro level – start with a concrete understanding of where you are and then determine where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there.Once you figure THAT out, you’re free to worry about your tools.