Is social media worth the effort?


I’m not going to pretend that social media is easy.

It can be time consuming, overwhelming, and at times, a waste of resources. Ironically, the biggest downfall with social media is that it tends to make us less social.

As David Lavenda wrote in a recent article for Fast Company:

[Social initiatives] are primarily about bringing people together and changing communications patterns to increase productivity. Yet, the tools that bring us together can also keep us apart, so introducing them without a comprehensive plan may introduce an enormous boomerang effect. It’s mind boggling that organizations continue to buy social and collaboration tools and expect people to use them without thinking about what they are really trying to achieve.

Lavenda also points out, we need to remember there MUST be a business reason for adopting social media, not just because “our competitors are doing it.”
Before moving to a social tool, first consider how you’re currently handling client communications. Does your company respond quickly to inquiries? Is the information delivered accurate? What could you do better?

If there’s room for improvement in your current communication procedures, it’s important to hone in on those issues before taking on more tasks for you and your employees. Once you feel comfortable, or if you already are satisfied with your current communication methods, then it’s time to consider social media tools.

What do you want to get out of the social initiatives? Who is responsible for what? Once you’ve established a need for social, getting employees, partners, clients, on board is another stage in the process.

Finally, how will you measure success? When will you know if the investment in the social tool was worth the effort? From here you can return to the first stage. Examine efficiency, accuracy, and where improvements can be made.

Remember, you don’t need a complicated ROI calculation, but you do need to decide… is your business is better off with or without social media?

Fast Company excerpt from David Lavenda, a product strategy and marketing executive at a high-tech company.


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