Is Social Media for You?

I occasionally get invited to talk to local community groups and professional associations about social media – specifically, using social media to enhance their businesses.

I suppose people expect enthusiastic evangelism, hard selling, and a deep dive into social media strategies and tactics. Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong: I love social media. I use it, study it, teach it, research it, live it, breathe it, and have fun doing so. But I always start these presentations with an invitation to first think things through, and decide if social media is for you.

Here are the things I ask people to consider:

Your AUDIENCE -Who do you want to reach? Identify your specific stakeholder groups, and rank them in decreasing order of importance. Then, ask: Are they online? Do they use social media? What media do they use, specifically? Are they always connected, or people who only have Internet access at the end of a busy and exhausting day?

Your GOALS – What do you wish to accomplish? If there’s one thing you wish each stakeholder group to remember about you, what is that?

YourSELF – Social media takes time. It is a long-term commitment. Done right, it requires a change of lifestyle. Are you ready to invest the time and effort? The first 5 blog posts are very easy to write. But the 500th? Can you keep up the enthusiasm and generate content over the long run? Are you always connected? Do you have a smartphone? A digital camera? Or, do you have a lifestyle that keeps you away from the computer for most of the day?


I ask my audience to ponder these questions, and make an informed decision about what they want to do. Then, I provide incremental solutions, starting with what I think is the easiest/most familiar to them. Each person can pick and choose a social media solution that fits them best.

I am getting a bit tired of hearing consultants sell social media as a panaceum, and get people into a social media program they are not then able to sustain. I guess you can’t expect a person who makes a living this way to start a sales pitch with reasons why you shouldn’t buy… but that’s the approach I take. Oh, and then… sure, I move on to social media strategies and tactics.