Yes social media can be effective, drive traffic, build communities, be a great PR tool, engage customers, bring in new business, network professionals and more. However before a company, brand or even a person looks to mold social media into their objectives, and the overall marketing strategy they must first know whether or not they are ready for social media.
Tools, expert staff, resources, talent, education – check – check – check. All the by the book stuff to get your social media off the ground successfully right? Sure sounds like it, yet if you stick these very same things in the middle of the African safari are they going to be equally successful? Maybe if they can out run lions and have some awesome wireless connections. The point being is that environment and culture are essential to the success of social media.
Here are some sometimes hard questions to ask:
- Are we ready to be transparent online?
- Have we developed a policy and guidelines about talking about our brand?
- Do we know how we are going to handle negative reactions online?
- Are we okay with mistakes being made openly online?
- Are there existing PR hurdles that may come out in this campaign?
- Who is going to monitor social media accounts during off hours?
- Is the leadership ready and willing to get involved?
The porridge temperature is never going to be “just right” and asking these questions and getting a better sense of how the company, brand or individual feels about social media will set everyone up with clear expectations and give light to obstacles that may need to be overcome.