It’s not easy being social

THE Jay Baer and Zena Weist
Image by tysongoodridge via Flickr

Better said “It’s easy, but not simple”. Jay Baer’s got some great thoughts on adding social media to your mix…

“Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s different expensive.

In the QA portion of recent speeches, I’ve frequently been asked this is great, but doesn’t it seem like it will take a lot of time?

Yes. It. Will.

Succeeding on the social Web requires daily participation. Whether it’s brand reputation management, PR and influencer outreach, customer service and social CRM, interacting with fans on a brand community, or just creating content that builds thought leadership — it all takes time.

Fundamentally, there are no shortcuts in social media, because the entire premise is that you’re interacting with customers one on one (or one on few). That is of course more time consuming than reaching hundreds, thousands, or millions of customers at one time with a paid advertisement. How could it not be so?

The only way America is even keeping its head above the global water line is by squeezing every last drop of productivity out of all of us. Please raise your hand if you’re working fewer hours these days than you did five or ten years ago. Exactly. Unless you’re somehow on Justin Bieber’s management team, you’re probably busting your hump like never before, tethered to the world by the iWhatever. So, I recognize that you probably don’t have the time to really commit to social media, and neither does anyone on your team.” Source: Nobody Said Social Media Was Easy

First, he says, the time is worth making…

“How much time do you spend sending, reading, and receiving emails each day? One hour? Two? Well guess what? 15 years ago we didn’t spend any time on email. But, we made the time to include it in our lives, because the net benefit was incredibly positive. The same is true of social media.

You and your compadres in your organization need to perform a serious audit of how you’re spending every minute of every day (especially in the marketing and customer service arenas). You need to do whatever you can to tie behavior and time utilization to business results. Then, you need to jettison what you’re doing that isn’t a clear net positive, and use that newfound time vacuum to fit in daily social media participation.” Source: Nobody Said Social Media Was Easy

I’d also ask, do you do these activities like email effectively? I’m stunned at the low level of skill that most people bring to the table, or desk as it were, in basic things like handling email effectively. Personally, I use Gmail or Google Apps because no other email platform gives me the ability to process email so effectively. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t other areas where I’m inefficient and I’m sure that if my business partner [my wife] were to audit my daily workflow, she’d find all kinds of ways I’m not operating at full capacity. I guess the takeaway is that we all have areas where we could operate more efficiently to make room for an important activity like social media…

Baer continues…

“Of course, you need to do a lot of the social media tasks within your four walls. There are exceptions, but it’s difficult to outsource your voice. But, maintaining a hand on the steering wheel of your persona does not mean that you need to have a stranglehold on every social media facet like a dog on a pork chop.

Couldn’t you have a lot more people in your company creating content? Maybe they aren’t great writers. But video blog posts? Consider your fans – your advocates – your 1%ers – your volunteer marketing army. Couldn’t you use them more effectively? Couldn’t you “promote” some of them, and have them help you monitor and respond to blog posts, create Facebook status updates, and so forth?” Source: Nobody Said Social Media Was Easy

So, leveraging other people, both inside and outside your company may help, but it will require a paradigm shift – both internal and external – to succeed…

“Talk about being given an inch, and wanting to take a yard. Here we have a new paradigm that focuses at last on relevant, personalized communications AND costs almost nothing, and yet people are still apoplectic about it taking a lot of time? Nobody said social media was both transformative AND a slam dunk. It’s hard. Really hard. So you either need to make the time internally, get more people involved, or stay on the sidelines.” Source: Nobody Said Social Media Was Easy

At e1evation, we’ve experienced a great deal of social media success by simply re-expressing activities and using better tools. For example, there’s little difference between an email and a blog post in terms of content and style, but an email will only reach a handful of people whereas a blog post has to potential to reach 1.5 billion. The same with bookmarks — if I bookmark a site in my browser it benefits only me on that computer but if I bookmark a site using social bookmarking tools, I can re-express those links on my site to make it more content rich. People say they don’t have the time for social media but what I see is they don’t have the right tools!

I believe that social media success can be driven by just one linchpin within your organization and that linchpin, equipped with the right tools, can change your organization from a consumer of social media to an effective producer. That linchpin might be you…

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