I think I read this line on a blog or in my twitter feed. It caught my eye because it is a powerful statement that brings into focus why we need to have social networks and better yet how to utilize these networks for our respective businesses.
There are many platforms that fall within the definition social networks. These comprise: Facebook Fanpage, Forums, Twitter, Niche Online Communities, Tribes, and many more and a more comprehensive list of social networks can be found here. The most prevalent of these for businesses are of course Facebook Fanpages and Twitter accounts. More and more Kenyan businesses are creating accounts in these networks in appreciation of the fact that these networks represent an incredible resource for them, mostly, hopefully.
As more and more Kenyan businesses create social networks using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Ning, I must ask to what end and how. And as much as I credit these businesses for leaving behind traditional models and embracing social media tools, I will be doing a great disservice to them if I do not call them out where they are not doing it right.
What has been all too common across the globe has been the “join the bandwagon mentality” by most businesses that are now utilizing social media. Notwithstanding the reason for joining/using these social networks, businesses have dived in and are creating accounts using the usual suspects in the social networking arena. But then what? What to do after creating an online community? To what end?
Social Networking should not be a numbers competition, its should not be a “me too” afterthought, and it should never be something you get into without a plan as is the case with many businesses today. The best case studies with regard to social media are businesses that did not go in blindly but rather took the time to plan in order to ensure that their objectives are met.
Don’t just jump into creating a Facebook fanpage without a clear plan on how you are going to utilize it. Numbers do not count for much unless they are utilized well. Believe it or not, you can actually have 10,000 dud followers and fans who are doing nothing for your bottom-line, your reputation or your brand. And if the numbers are there just for show, be sure it won’t show in your bottom-line. Get the numbers knowing very well what you intend to do with them and not just to boast about it.
Your network is your net worth therefore learn how to work it. These networks are there for the reasons you set forth in your objectives for creating them. You can use them for:
When you know what you intend to utilize your networks for, you develop the capacity to generate value from them. This knowledge enables you to define exactly how you are going approach the network for instance the frequency of your posts, what you are going to post about, what the various metrics you will be watching out for are, who will be the community or network manager, the monitoring and measurement of the various metrics, and how the business then interprets this into actionable business decisions or way forward.
Did you put any thought before you embarked on your social media initiative?