Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of Social Media

I have the great fortune to live in Raleigh, NC and able to know world class professionals in a variety of industries; Deidre Hughey is one. "The Power of Social Media" by Deidre Hughey was originally posted online at Carolina Business Connection (CBC).  Thanks Diedre and Tim Moore of CBC for the okay to share.

The Power of Social Media
By Deidre Hughey - Social Media Strategist and Radio Show Host

Last week, I sat down with a client to go over a strategic plan for his social media activities. As I was going over the details, a friend of my client’s walked into the room and stated, “I just don’t get it, I mean, seriously, social media is a complete waste of time.”

It’s true. Social media is a complete waste of time… (I know, you weren’t expecting a social media strategist to say that, were you!)

Wait! Let me finish the statement.

Social media is a complete waste of time…if you don’t have a strategy in place that you’re following.

Planning for a Trip
Think about it. If you decided you wanted to drive to Encino, California, would you just hop in your car and start driving? Most likely not (unless you’re a teenager…they do some pretty crazy things). As an adult, there’s some planning involved. You need to schedule time away from work, decide how long you’re going to be gone, pack your clothes, hire a dog sitter, plan your route, pack some snacks, etc. You don’t just hop into the car and start driving because it would be irresponsible.

Planning for Trade Shows
Let’s shift gears and talk about business. If you decided that you wanted to participate in 3 trade shows over the course of the year, would you just pick the first trade show that you saw and register? No, of course not! You would want to know some things about it. Who is the trade show marketed toward? What type of vendors are going to be there? Has this been a successful trade show in the past? Does it work into my schedule? What are the costs involved?

Not Planning for Social Media
A business person is told (sometimes, over and over) that they should get involved in social media. So, they start a blog or sign up on a social networking site and start typing. Unfortunately, many people jump into social media with little thought. Before you know it, the business person is frustrated and discouraged by the amount of time spent in social media without having monetary results to show for their efforts.

They start shouting, “Where’s my ROI?”

I shout back, “Show me your plan!”

Free Still Needs a Plan
Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan. And, don’t get me wrong, social media shouldn’t be your marketing plan. Social media should be a strategic piece of your marketing plan.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

1) How much time am I willing to dedicate to social media per week? Per day?
2) Is there any part of my marketing plan that social media may be able to replace?
3) Do the demographics of my clients match the demographics of the platform that I’m considering using?
4) What would my clients and prospects want to hear from me?
5) What action do I want my prospects to make as a result of our interactions?
6) Am I ready to be transparent in an online community of people that I don’t know?
7) Am I ready to spend the time to understand the social etiquette involved in social media that will allow me to get results?
8) Am I ready to be a “pull” marketer rather than a “push” marketer?

Take the time to ask yourself questions. Take the time to map out a plan. Know what you’re going to do when you show up. If you don’t, maybe your time would be better spent elsewhere.

However, with the right plan in place, and an understanding of what your prospects are looking for with your involvement in social media, you could develop a very loyal client base over time. A loyal client base that is able to let their connections know (quickly, I might add) how great it is to be your client.

Ah. There it is.

The true power of social media.

So, go ahead.

Get a plan in place and build a BUZZ about your business!

About Deidre Hughey
Deidre Hughey is the owner of The Buzz Builder and a Social Media Strategist and Online Relationship Expert. She helps people spread the word about their business without spending a lot of money. She is also a columnist for Women’s Edge Magazine, Vice-President of Women’s Business Owners Network (WBON) in Cary, on the board for the Knowledgeable Network of Women (KNOW) in Morrisville, founder and facilitator for Triangle Women’s Connection, a trustee for inSide919.com, and an avid, dynamic speaker.
Contact Information:
Deidre Hughey
The BUZZ Builder
Social Media Strategies That Make Sense for Speakers and Authors
(919) 924-3675
Website: http://thebuzzbuilder.com/
Author BUZZ: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/deidrehughey

What's your best social media strategy?