Hello, and welcome to another installment of HR Intervention! I’m Jeff Havens, and today we’re going to discuss social media, which I mostly hated for the first several years of its existence.
I saw no value in it, and I had absolutely no interest in gushing about the qualities of whatever sandwich I was eating to whichever online friends were bored enough to care. I avoided social media studiously for a long time, and the fact that my business continued to grow without using it seemed to justify to me the absurdity of spending any energy on it.
However, I also thought the Internet was dumb when it debuted, and I’ve recently heard that a lot of people now like it.
I probably would have railed against electricity when it first came out, and I definitely would have thought boats were a bad idea when the first person was psychotic enough to try floating on one, since the safest thing to float on is definitely a continent. My point, of course, is that I am a moron.
However, I am a moron who can be taught. And if I can change, you can as well.
So if you’re struggling to incorporate a more robust social media approach to your personal or professional marketing, here are four ideas that might help you hate the process a little bit less.
Trust That It Works
If you don’t trust it, you shouldn’t bother with it, since you’ll be certain that you’re throwing your money away.
For myself, our revenues increased 16% the first year that we adopted a dedicated social media strategy, and that was really the only significant change we made in our advertising strategy that year.
It really does work, I promise. How much it will work, however, is anyone’s guess. (More on that later!)
Pick a Small Number of Social Media Outlets
There are literally thousands of social media sites, and some social media strategists you’ll run across will encourage you to have a presence on all of them. Doing so is nearly impossible and enormously frustrating.
So pick the two or three that seem to make the most sense for your business and dedicate your energies there.
And don’t start second-guessing yourself until you’ve spent enough time trying it that you have some actual data to back up your opinions.
It’s kind of like dating, actually; it usually takes a few months to realize that a given social media platform isn’t working for you, just like it usually takes a few months to realize your new boyfriend or girlfriend is certifiably insane.
If you don’t, you won’t get anything out of it. You don’t have to be elaborate necessarily, but you do need to be present.
Think of it just like traditional advertising – one commercial isn’t likely to do very much, but a few hundred will eventually make your company into a household name.
Don’t Expect To Predict Anything
Advertising is an evil profession mostly because it is virtually impossible to tell whether or not a particular ad is successful.
Virality is even more difficult, since there are exactly zero good explanations for why some posts get millions of views while others get 11.
If you try to predict what will happen (and I have), then you will drive yourself crazy (which I have). Instead, concentrate as much mental energy as possible on the first three rules here, and then wait to see what the results are.
Once you have those results, you can revise your strategy accordingly.
Are you going to like diving into the murky swamp of social media? Possibly not. You might love it. But I’d bet anything that you’ll figure out how to tolerate it if you end up making more money because of it.
Besides, it’s not like you love every aspect of your business anyway, right? I love airport delays as much as the next guy, but I continue to put up with them because they take me to the places where people pay me. When it comes to social media, I’m sure you can do the same.
Integrating a social media strategy into your business can take some time – learn how to balance that time with the rest of your responsibilities in this article on getting things done!
Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment. He is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, or to bring Jeff to your next meeting, call 309-808-0884, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Jeffhavens.com.