It's been quite a winter here in the northeast. There has been a snow storm every week since Christmas. The snow is pile high by the roads, driveways and sidewalk – and we’re all wondering where we’re going to put the snow from this next storm. I’ve been wondering if there are any lessons to be learned, about social media, from all this snow. I think there are:
- You can’t stop it. Nope, you can’t stop mother nature, nor can you ignore the impact of social media. It’s all around us. Everyone is using it from individuals to stay in touch with friends and family, to consumer centric companies to promote sales, to B2B companies to increase lead generation.
- It piles up. Yep, just like the snow by the roadsides, social media can start to pile up. The number of tweets, friends and overall volume of content is increasing in a way that makes all this snow pale by comparison. We need to figure out ways to effectively and efficiently sift through, analyze and capture the value of social media. Listening solutions are just the tip of the iceberg in gathering social media data. What are we going to do with all this data?
- - It must be managed. As communities throughout the northeast figure out where to put the snow, we must figure out which social media data can actually help us accomplish our goals. Can social media help us increase sales? Sure, but can it help us target customers. Of course! We need to know how, when and where to utilize social networks for our enjoyment or business benefit. We must be focused in our use of social media.
- - You have to plan for it. We all head to the supermarket or gas station before a lot of these snow storms. We don’t want to be trapped without the essentials (e.g., milk, bread). Social media requires planning and integration with an overall marketing plan. I emphasize this point constantly as it seems to be the most challenging for many companies. Who and what do you want to be socially? Which social networks help you fulfill your business goals? How will you measure success? It should be more than the number of fans, friends or followers.
Enjoy the snow. Make some snow angels, build a snowman. Find your inner child. But, above all – be safe. Explore your options and get focused on how you’re going to make social media work for you before it piles up and creates other problems to manage and resolve.
What’s your perspective?