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More Isn’t Always Merrier

 

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[tweetmeme] We all use the phrase ‘the more the merrier’ in different contexts as part of our everyday speak, but what of the saying’s use in the context of social media? Is it fair to say that all businesses should jump onto the social media bandwagon and take advantage of as many SM tools as possible? Can we truly say that the more blogs, the more social networking sites, the more podcasts or widgets we use the more we (and our businesses) benefit?

The straight-forward answer, is no.

Like anything, using SM tools in business successfully is all about balance; it’s about understanding where the line separating ‘too much’ and ‘too little’ is drawn, and recognizing how we can avoid overstepping our boundaries. As many businesses have proved, however, knowing where to draw that line isn’t always as straight forward as it may seem.

In today’s digitally-driven world, it’s hard not to witness some of the most extreme cases of businesses’ over-(and under)-use of SM tools. We’ve all come across those websites which have a whole barrage of incongruous social media icons at the bottom of every page, or the odd lowly Twitter account created and simultaneously abandoned at the post of one typo-ridden ‘tweet’. Nevertheless, whether victim of the ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ syndrome, the key downfall is always the same: a lack of social media savviness.

The biggest social media blunders experienced by companies such as Habitat, Domino’s and Nestle have largely been due to a basic lack of understanding as to the power, reach and functionality of social media; Habitat could have done with a lesson or two in the use of Twitter hashtags (see ‘How not to use Twitter: HabitatUK as a case study’), Domino’s could have educated its employees a little more on the impact of social media (see Sebastian Barros’ ‘5 Social Media Disasters’) and Nestle could have benefitted from a bigger team of in-house and outsourced ‘SM-ees’ (see Amanda Vega’s ‘Sweet Nestle in a not-so-sweet social media stomach ache’).

When it comes to thinking about how to include SM tools in our own marketing and business strategies, it’s vital we ask ourselves a very basic (but very vital) series of questions: not ‘how do I get started?’, but ‘what is social media anyway?’; not ‘which tool(s) should I use?’, but ‘what do these tools actually do?’; not ‘how many should I use?’, but ‘should I use them at all?’ In other words, to quote The Cube’s own Gemma Went, make sure you ‘look before you leap’.

Answers to these questions of course depend on short and long-term business objectives and a whole host of other factors, but it’s important to realise that employing SM tools isn’t necessarily for everyone. However, if and when you decide social media is the way to go, it’s important to make sure that a detailed and, above all, strategic plan is drawn-up – and that everyone in your organisation knows what that plan is.

SM strategies vary enormously from business to business, but a good place to start is to think about your message (i.e. what you’re trying to say), your audience (i.e. who you’re trying to reach) and your resources (i.e. who can take charge of it all). You may find that a simple geotagging SM tool such as Foursquare is the way to go, or that a fully integrated SM strategy is what your business really needs.

Either way, what the most important thing to remember is that ‘the more the merrier’ approach doesn’t often apply to social media. If anything, the latter (and often forgotten) counterpart of the oft quoted phrase is perhaps the wisest approach of all: ‘the more the merrier; the fewer the better fare’.

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The right traffic is the LIFE BLOOD of your business.

Grab these tried and tested tips and give your business the boost it deserves.

It's free!