November 21, 2013

Social media is a tactic, not a strategy

2 minute read, in Social Networking

So I spoke to a class of dynamic Imagination Catalysts (entrepreneur/inventors) at OCAD yesterday. I was there to talk about social media, but as usual, I needed to contextualize it in it’s marketing strategy role. I remembered one of the more important lessons I learned early on:

The tools become useful when you have a problem to solve.

Today, the pressure to ‘be on social media’ is overwhelming. No less because many have made a career out of teaching people to use twitter, etc…

It feels like a career in using a screwdriver.

I was an early adopter and have done oodles of experimenting, but I was most successful when I was passionate about what I was working on and these platforms solved a problem for me.

On a mission, doing research, seeking advice, building a team–social net-working platforms help you connect with like-minded peers all over the world with common interests. Sometimes, they’re great dis-intermediators and give you access to people whose work you admire.

But until you figure out who should care about your product and why, it’s hard to know what you should be sharing, looking for and discussing in these spaces. Without focus, you don’t know what to measure.

You may accrue many followers, but you don’t know if they’re the right ones. And you risk wasting either your time, your resources or your money–important concerns for any business, but critical concerns for an entrepreneur, SME or non-profit.

Resist the urge to create more hamster wheels. They’ll only make you feel worse. Instead, follow this path:

  1. Figure out why anyone should care about what you’re doing
  2. Make a list of who those people are, on an interest level
  3. Start listening to their conversations
  4. Participate in a useful way to establish your credibility
  5. Finally, lead by creating ways for the people who could are about your mission to take part

If you follow this process, you’ll find the various social networks are a boon. You’ll be grateful that they offer the platform, audiences, conversations and tools you need to move forward your agenda instead of stressed out that you need to master a new tool.

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