Those are the words Amy Mengel cited as the mantra of last week’s Inbound Marketing Summit. In her post Five reasons corporations are failing at social media, Amy summarizes why companies aren’t finding success with social media. And as Amy writes, it’s not because social media is hard to do.
When you boil it down it’s about listening to your customers, being helpful by offering your knowledge and giving them interesting content to share and thereby advocate for you.
The failures Amy wries about are really a lack of preparedness and commitment to the process. But I’d also like to add this: A big question a company needs to ask before implementing a social media strategy is how do their core audience (aka customers) use social media, if at all? This may seem like an obvious question to ask but I think part of the reasons for the failure many organizations experience is a lack of this understanding. If your customers don’t read blogs, there’s no point in setting one up on your site to engage them in dialogue. Ditto for Twitter, Facebook and other social tools out there.
But if your audience does use social media, and you as a company are committed to using it to engage them via this channel, you need to be aware of how to use it effectively. There are tons of examples of companies who have implemented social media strategies with great success – hint: google “social media success stories”.
The pitfalls that Amy lists come from forgetting a key point: social media is about connecting with people. Your customers aren’t stupid. If you’re not contributing something of value to them via social media, they will ignore you. And it’s not about using social media because everyone else is. Find out first how your customers use social media (if at all), then create a plan to engage them in a way that provides value (to them).
Social media isn’t “rocket surgey” but it does require thought, planning and dedication.