So we’re around the water cooler recently discussing, for the umpteenth time, the merits of social media as it relates to our business. We’ve had this ongoing discussion for……, let’s just say a long time. We all have differing views on the subject. Those opinions have been shaped by our ages, personalities, education and life and work experiences (which in some cases have extended over decades).
There are team members that have grown up in an era where the computing power they carry over their shoulder or in your pocket was witnessed by other team members years ago being housed in secured, temperature controlled rooms the size of homes. We have members that seem to have such a huge laundry list of concerns about anything new that by the time all their concerns are addressed and analysis completed, we will still be standing at the starting gate while the leader has the finish line in site. And of course we have those members that believe any analytical study is a waste and we need to jump in and do it and we will figure it out as we go.
When it comes to discussing the subject of social media and networking it seems everyone on our team has a strong opinion. We all recognize however, that the world we live in has placed much emphasis on social media so we all try to approach the subject with an open mind. Along with our continuing discussions we read articles and listen to videos regarding the business benefits of social media however often time it creates further confusion and an overwhelmed feeling. The thought of using social media in our business can be a daunting one. There just is not enough time or money available to identify the objectives, develop a plan, determine how to measure performance and manage the program. It requires a significant commitment. I guess that is why many small businesses have not welcomed social media with open arms.
In our most recent water cooler discussion however, I believe we made significant progress in coming to terms with the role social media can play in managing our business. We acknowledge the benefits that are endlessly repeated in every article you read and every social media video you watch; promote your brand, create sales leads, etc. In our minds however, we have concluded there is something much more important in participating in social networking then developing new relationships (not that we do look forward to working with new clients). We believe the primary purpose of social media in our business is to further develop the relationships we already have. Social networking facilitates relationship building by allowing our clients access to information about our company, the industry we work in, and all of us individually. As a service business we are individually and collectively our company’s brand and in that sense social media does allow for brand building through individual participation. We all know successful service delivery is dependent upon all parties having realistic expectations. A clear understanding of the anticipated service is enhanced when communication is open and the service providers are accessible. While open communication is a necessity during the service delivery period, participation in social networking allows communication with clients to flow freely throughout the year.
So here we go! With a clear purpose in mind we have begun to develop our social media plan. We will keep you posted on how the process progresses and share our experiences along the way. We have already taken the first step by clarifying who EDI is with the redesign of our web site, www.edievents.com.
How is social media working for you? Give us your opinion.