Everyone knows that social media is the future. It seems that every business worth its salt must get into it or be left out. Even boring big banks have Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts that are managed by specialised social media staffs. For many small business owners, the question on their minds is not whether they should get into social media or not. After all, since social media is free, why not? Instead, the question is how to manage social media without burning out.
The problem with social media is that although Facebook and Twitter accounts are free, it costs an arm and leg of your time to manage them. Updating, posting, checking for objectionable comments, answering questions, deleting spam, networking, monitoring and reading updates take up a lot of time. If you are not careful, social media can be a time-sponge, draining away the last drops of your precious energy.
Therefore, if you are going into social media (or is already stuck in one), it is important to have a strategy in place so that you will not be stuck forever in a rut. Yes, managing your social media accounts is time-consuming. But you wouldn’t want to be doing social media just because everyone else is doing it. You wouldn’t want to be doing the same social media activities indefinitely with dubious benefits in sight. You will want to reap returns tomorrow from what you do today. In other words, you have to see the social media stuffs that you do today as an investment of your time for which you will harvest benefits that will make your life easier in the long term.
What should be the long-term objective of your social media strategy? In my opinion, the ultimate aim of a social media strategy is to build a community.
Once you have a community, there will be a culture. A culture will naturally tow its members in line. Within a culture, natural leaders will arise. Once you can identify who the community leaders are, that’s when you can delegate some responsibilities to them. They will gladly welcome newcomers for you, answer their questions and keep the community free from pollution (spam). They will also naturally spread the word about your community because they are now appointed as leaders. You will be surprised that these leaders can be motivated to volunteer for the community without monetary incentives because they are now given recognition as important people. And they will do a much better job than any outsourced virtual assistants because they are motivated by more than just money.
So, as you go about doing your social media management, you have to ask yourself this question: is what I do going to contribute to the building of a community in the long run? If the answer is no, it’s time to evaluate those activities in a different light.