When I speak to people about social media I still find there is a significant misconception about how much work is on your shoulders when it comes to the social media responsibilities for brands. I don’t want to downplay this more than I should, but if you think the weight of your social media efforts lies solely on your (or your organization’s) shoulders then you don’t get social media as much as you think you do.
Yes, you have to update your blog or Facebook page or Instagram feed or whatever platforms you have determined connect you with your audience, but that’s not the entirety of social media. Not even close.
Case In Point
Last week I spoke to the president of a nonprofit that wants to see significant and meaningful change here in the state of Tennessee. His organization has the knowledge to do it. They have momentum behind them too, but when he gave me his perspective for what someone doing social media for their organization might actually do it consisted of reading news feeds for 30 minutes a day and posting something to Facebook a couple times a week. That is an extremely limited view.
Think Bigger, Reach Further
I tried to help him see that although someone dedicated to social media for the organization would very likely do the things he suggested, there was so much more to be done. For instance, there are vast numbers of bloggers and vocal individuals who each have their own audiences and would welcome the opportunity to connect with this organization. To do that, however, someone needs to initiate and cultivate all those relationships. Someone needs to be able to facilitate activity behind the scenes with those people and doing that is just as much social media activity as posting a new update on your Twitter account.
We went on to discuss several other ways someone dedicated to social media would work with their organization and after the lengthy discussion he said he now had a much broader view of what social media could (and should) be for his organization.
The Cumulative Reach Of Your Fans Is Huge
The thing that helped him most wasn’t telling him all the platforms a social media person could use to post things. What got him there was showing him how his orgnaization’s message can be multiplied if they’ll take the time to connect with all the like-minded people who have their own networks and their own audiences. When he began to understand how awareness and action can multiply with that approach he totally got it.
The bottom line is this: we know people use Facebook or blog or do whatever they do with social media but organizations still don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to motivate friends and fans on their behalf. Most brands are only thinking about how to generate another week’s worth of blog posts or Facebook updates. People trust the comments and observations of friends more than anything from a brand so why not attempt to leverage that more fully?
Ultimately the success of your social media efforts will never be fully on your shoulders because you really need other people to be talking about you to their friends. You can be strategic and facilitate those efforts but even then you realize you don’t get to control what someone will say. Scary? Perhaps. Unpredictable? Sure. Strategic? Absolutely.