Maybe social media should be like driving. Yeah, if you’re planning to use social media to advance the objectives of an organization, them maybe you should have to take a test. It will be a simple test, but not an easy one, and it can be boiled down to two questions.
I’ve recently had conversations with a number of people from different organizations regarding their use of social media and I’m finding there is a high realization that, in one form or another, social media is key for connecting with an organization’s desired audiences. However, there is a lower apprehension for knowing how to accomplish that task. Frankly, I believe social media is a waste of time for many people who have waded into the social media waters. They’re spinning their wheels. Their social media effort amounts to spitting in the dessert and expecting an oasis to bloom.
And therein lies the “driving test” I propose. Pass the test and get your social media license.
Are you ready? Here goes?
- Do you know what you are trying to accomplish?
- Do you know how you are going to accomplish it?
Obviously the first question has to do with goals, knowing your desired outcomes. Every action an organization undertakes should be an action toward the larger objective. Social media is no different. It’s the destination on the map. Are you trying to raise the organization’s visibility? Trying to generate sales leads? Trying to position yourself and your organization as experts in a particular “space?” Trying to more closely engage customers? All of the above?
The second question deals more with the strategic execution of a social media plan to reach those goals, like mapping the route to get to the destination. Some questions to ask are, What social media tools are we going to use (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Instagram, etc.)? How are we going to grow our social media followers? What are we going to say to them? When are we going to say it? How do we get them to interact and respond? How will we respond to their response? Who is responsible for content creation? Who is responsible for social media monitoring? What do we do with social media in a crisis?
And there can be many other questions. The point is, if there is not a strategic process that guides social media to an intended destination imbedded within a larger organizational communications plan, then you’re driving without a license, and chances are you’re driving in circles and will never get where you want to go.