Jumping into Social Media is one of the smartest things a brand should do. It could also be one of the worst moves if the brand is not prepared.
All too often, I've heard gripes like, "we're on Facebook, but nothing is happening," or "we're on Twitter and no one is following us." You can swap out whatever Social Media channel I've mentioned and replace it with lines like, "nobody is watching our videos," "nobody is downloading our Podcast," and "no one is leaving any comments on our Blog."
Once again, brands have to be interesting, relevant and consistent to build community and conversation.
It's not rocket surgery (as my friend, Jason Falls over at Social Media Explorer always says), but it's certainly not easy. Beyond the hard work, long hours and commitment to providing true and honest value (above pushing for a sale or broadcasting nonsense into the channels and platforms), most brands looking to enter the Social Media fray have a lot more to think about than whether or not anyone will follow, engage and connect to them once they get started. Most brands need to think twice about Social Media because their products and services aren't all that good to begin with.
Unlike advertising, Social Media can't save a bad product or service.
Prior to thinking about Social Media, brands would be wise to review Don Tapscott's excellent book, Wikinomics. In particular, the section where Tapscott talks about "being buff." The brands that do well in Social Media are the brands that look good naked. Because, as Tapscott says, if you're going to be naked online (which all brands are), you better be buff, in shape and ready for it... and he's right.
Maybe Social Media is the last thing you should be doing if...
The majority of people have nothing nice to say about your brand.
Your customer service center is over-worked with complaints and issues.
Your current brand strategy revolves around trying to make your products sound better than they are.
You don't have the time, passion and/or commitment to do Social Media with transparency, credibility and authenticity.
You really don't care about customers and only care about selling.
Your heart isn't into it.
You feel like you don't have the time to do it.
Social Media won't save a bad brand. It will only shine a brighter light on the warts and flaws.
Six Pixels of Separation