In my role as a digital marketing instructor I frequently hear the same questions and concerns that social media is a vast landscape filled with obstacles that are impossible to overcome. I respond they are misguided. They need to look at the problem upside down.
1. We don’t know what to do.
If you knew what to do, you’d be doing it. Ask your customers, constituents, stakeholders, employees, vendors, and others for help, assistance, and advice. They will tell you what to do.
2. We don’t want to lose control (of the message, the conversation).
You can moderate blog comments, you can restrict fans from posting on your Facebook wall, and you can require posted content be vetted through specific managers.
But, ask yourself: What’s wrong with losing control? Have you never fallen off a bike when learning to ride and gotten back up — to fall down again?
3. We might draw negative comments.
I am fond of suggesting if you don’t have critics, you’re not doing a good job. Seth Godin goes further and suggests you should listen to your critics before your fans.
Embrace negativity and turn it around.
4. We could run into legal issues.
That’s why there are lawyers like Saunders & Silverstein who specialize in internet law. Matt Saunders is a local attorney and he knows the legal intricacies. He’s someone you could seek out for advice.
5. What will it cost?
Anywhere from $0 to $100,000. It depends what you want to do.
Think of existing technologies you would miss if they weren’t there, such as the telephone or the computer or the water bubbler. How much do they cost? Had you been around when their utility in your office was proposed, would you have argued a telephone is too costly?
6. Where will we find the time or the staff to do it?
Maybe your staff are already doing it for fun in their personal time. Who’s on Facebook? Who’s on Pinterest?
Maybe some customers are already blogging and podcasting about you. Ask them to write a guest post and they’d gladly do it.
7. Social media is not serious. We have important things to do.
So do other businesses but they do it. Why are you unique?
8. If we spend money to get help online, we might face shareholder outcry.
You might; but those critics are your friends, remember?
Hold public forums before doing anything. I suggest you spend 3-6 months doing strategic planning and internet “listening” before spending money to launch campaigns.
9. Is there return on investment with social media?
Is there return on investment with pens and pencils? Why would social media be different?
The state of Utah closes government offices on Fridays as the result of using web services. They didn’t do it overnight, but that ROI was doubly effective in reducing the carbon footprint. Your scale might be different but ROI is the same.
10. Who will be responsible for creating online content?
While your employees are your best internet evangelists, the ideal social media marketer is the same person who writes press releases and liaises with the media. Hire a public affairs officer if nobody exists. Hire me.
Interns from your local community college could do it until you can find the value in a hiring a full-time position. Form a committee to investigate options.
Do you have work-at-home or telecommuting employees? Could they manage your Facebook page from their house?
11. What if we mess up?
Go back to the bike analogy. Get back up and try again.
12. Why should we use social media? What for?
Why not? Oh yeah, the people want it. They’re banging on your vending machine and not getting anything from you. If you don’t believe me, walk into the cafeteria during lunch hour, introduce yourself, and ask for candid feedback on anything. You’ll get more reasons than you need.
13. What if our social media campaign is a failure?
What if it’s not? And, you need to fail to succeed.
14. The CEO might not like it. Our customers might not like it.
They might not. They also might. I think they will.
You need to get their approval before doing anything. If your CEO is not on board, it will fail. If your mission/vision statement does not support your campaign, update those documents. Ask your mailman for advice. Ask your mother.
15. What if we reveal too much information?
Create a policy so employees know what they can and cannot say on a blog or to a reporter.
Moreover, you owe it to your taxpayers and shareholders and customers to be transparent. They will see through you if you hide anything so be honest. The worst that could happen is you receive comments and shares.
16. We can’t keep up with changing technology.
Seek out the high school computer club. They know more than you think.
17. We’re afraid employees might be jealous if certain people post on Facebook at work.
Create a policy who can say what. Diversify responsibilities.
18. We’re too small.
Flip your head upside down to see the above picture from the perspective of the bike rider.
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