Lots of organisations get involved with social media because they think they ought to but then do it badly and are disappointed at the result.

Part of the problem seems to me to be that social media are ‘free’ and therefore of low value in the eyes of people who are used to spending money on various forms of advertising.

The other part is that it’s difficult to measure the Return On Investment in terms of short term gains, so there’s no incentive to use social media consistently, let alone well, when other more pressing uses of time come up. Certainly you can promote an offer and see how many took it up but much of the use of social media is about increasing brand awareness, building loyalty and spreading word of mouth, none of which provide immediate revenue (although they can be measured against targets).
So, in my experience, many organisations get involved in social media because they think they should but let that involvement slide as soon as other demands on resources come along.
There is something else. Using social media requires a huge change in approach, from the traditional marketing role of leading your customers to the brave new world of being led by them. Many marketing people either don’t understand this or they don’t want to do it. Social media, whether it’s blogging and microblogging (Twitter), social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn), sharing (YouTube, Flickr) or forums and comments, is a conversation not a monologue.

So, best not to get involved in social media if you don’t have the commitment or an appreciation of why you’re doing it. All that will happen is that you will produce a half hearted effort that won’t impress your followers and may even alienate them and that will waste your time.

If you want to do it properly, start by looking at my 10 Tips for using Social Media.

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