Social media doesn’t come with an on/off switch. Although, I wish it did sometimes. Still, all too often it’s treated as the magic ingredient to turn a good campaign into an incredible campaign. “Let’s add a social media component to this to encourage sharing and give this an element of ‘virality.’” Okay.
It’s really not that simple. Social media isn’t something that can be thrown in last minute to add another check mark to a list of campaign mandatories.
Social media success is a process, and that process isn’t always a quick one. There’s a pay-to-play element that requires an initial investment to set the groundwork and accumulate the resources, so those resources can be utilized in the future.
The groundwork needs to be set. You need to accumulate the people (Facebook Likers, Twitter followers, blog subscribers, YouTube channel subscribers, etc.) before you can deliver a message and expect results. For example, if there’s a big product launch one week away, and you want to use Facebook to promote it, you’re not going to get very far if you didn’t have a Facebook Page in the first place. However, if you’ve been spending some time on Facebook and investing in the platform, which has led to a vibrant Facebook Page community, you have an audience to deliver your message to in hopes that they’ll pass it along.
Start laying the groundwork today, so you can act when you need to. Depending upon the platforms that are right for your brand and your audience, prioritize where you should focus and start staking your claim. Set-up a Facebook Page, claim your Foursquare locations, start looking at Twitter and so on.
You’re not going to see much of a return during the initial stages of establishing your social media presence. After all, you don’t have anyone engaging with you yet, but if you set your initial focus on that first phase being an investment, not a magic ingredient, you’ll lay the groundwork for what can lead to big success down the line.
Social media success won’t happen overnight, but if you invest, you’ll have established relationships, loyal followers and brand advocates who trust you when it matters most. That way when a campaign launches you can leverage those assets to spread the word, participate in promotions and start movements that generate revenue.
Social Media’s Just Different
TV, radio, print, display and all other traditional advertising methods have built-in audiences. That’s part of what you pay for when you use these vehicles. A brand’s social media platforms, on the other hand, need to develop audiences from scratch. It’s a process worth investing in. Don’t try to turn it on when it’s too late for it to help you achieve business objectives.