Without clear strategy and intention, social media can get shuffled to the side under a pile of urgent tasks that never seem to be completed.
Here are a few tips to help you manage it all as you scale your business.
1. Social media is a tool.
Don't get distracted by pressures to learn all the ins and outs of each new social media app. Learn the basics. In the end, social media is a tool to do what you do best - your business. It's there to help you achieve your business goals.
2. Social media is NOT a magic pill.
A few years ago, my personal Twitter feed blew up because Oprah (yes, THE Oprah) replied personally to a tweet I'd sent out. But in the long run, there were no permanent after effects of this "viral" moment. I didn't suddenly have thousands of followers. No one came to my door with a contract for a TV show. No one even wanted an interview.
Many business owners think of social media as a viral lottery to be won by chance. Because it is a fairly new way to engage the market, they often turn to social media hoping for a quick fix. Most viral phenomena don't have a long-term impact.
3. Social media follows human psychology.
No matter what channel you use for your social media interaction, step back and take a few minutes to look at your desired outcomes. If you can uncover what motivates users on each of the social platforms, then you can match the best ways to engage those communities in alignment with the goals of your business.
Being online is more and more mandatory in business, but using social tools effectively is an art aligned with time-tested business practices. The tools are new, but the strategies are the same.
Uncover the customer's pain point. Provide your product or service as the solution. Ask for the sale. You still have to build credibility and trust in the mind of the consumer for long-term sustainability. Some things never change.
For some deeper reading on the subject, check out this insightful paper from the Segal Graduate School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
This column contributed by Steve Rice. Steve is the Director of Digital Strategy and Membership at The Venture Center in downtown Little Rock. His Twitter profile describes him as a "dessert lover and startup nerd as well as a human behavior junkie."