As a social media coach, I spend my days persuading people of the benefits of presenting themselves and their businesses online. While social media has emerged as a valuable component of an overall marketing plan, there are many things you should know before you decide to incorporate it into your strategy.
Here are top five negatives of social media so when you decide to take the plunge, you'll have a better idea of what you're in for:
1. Social media imposes high demands on your time.
You must locate, create, edit and schedule content for publishing. Discovering what your company wants to share and make it relevant to your fans takes a huge commitment because of the time and effort involved. Every response requires attention. It's very difficult to consistently come up with relevant content.
2. Social media requires specific talent that's hard to find.
Facilitating conversations takes time and a watchful eye (for leads). It's difficult to constantly come up with interesting content your audience wants to engage with. There are a select few who possess a talent for listening, engaging and enthusiastically corresponding with your customers. These folks can be hard to find.
3. You will lose control of some of your marketing efforts.
Everything you publish is up for grabs. Ninety-eight percent of the time, normal people will like, comment on, and share what you post. The other 2 percent of the time, you could have trolls. Someone could wake up one morning and have a large glass of Haterade.
It's kind of cool to see customers share your content and advocate for you; this is the strength of social media. But if you're a victim of haters or dissatisfied customers, make sure you have a plan to handle them.
4. Without clear objectives, there is no return on investment.
I see many businesses using social media to create interest in their companies, but with no real objectives in place. You must start with goals so you can measure how you're doing along the way. Measurement is about more than just general results. It must tie back to your objectives so you can confidently say your budget was well spent.
5. If you suck in real life, you'll suck on social media.
Is your business ready for primetime? Company culture is often a top-down directive, yet it's your front-line personnel who truly define your culture and communicate it to your customers. What are your employees saying to your customers about the company they work for?
Part of an ideal content strategy is to welcome contributions from your staff. Involve them in your social media efforts to help them stay connected to you and your customers. I've seen amazing things happen once employees have the go-ahead to participate in content creation.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on these five negatives. Which one is a stumbling block for you? Have you overcome any of them?
Kathi Kruse is an automotive social media expert, blogger, author, speaker, and founder of Kruse Control. A version of this article originally appeared on the Kruse Control blog.