Compass Reflection

The more involved you are in social media, the easier it can be to lose sight of your end goals. That’s because this emerging medium can be endlessly interesting — after all, there’s always someone new to meet, or a differing opinion to consider, or a new tool to dabble in… but there’s also only so much time in the day, and you need to know that you’re actually accomplishing what you set out to do.

(You did set out to do something, didn’t you?)

Whether you’ve been involved in social media for years or you’re just starting out now, you might feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. If so, stop and ask yourself one simple question:

Why, exactly, am I doing this?

(Or, if you’re part of a team effort, why are we — our company, our charity, our university, etc. — doing this?)

Odds are, your goals may have changed since you started out. That’s partly because the tools we use change all the time, but also because the very act of participating in social media means that you’re listening to what others are telling you — and if you’re listening, you’re probably acting on that information, too. (Otherwise, why else would you be asking for it?)

All of this is perfectly natural. What isn’t natural is refusing to adjust your strategy based upon this new information. And sticking with an outdated strategy will rob you of both the opportunity to maximize the input from your customers AND your ability to interact with them in meaningful ways — which is the whole point of social media in the first place.

So, if you’re using social media to…

Interact with your audience…

… then make sure you’re ACTUALLY listening. Let your audience know that their feedback is the reason you’re here. Thank them for taking the time to engage you, and be public about the ways in which their information is impacting your decisions. Letting people know that their opinions matter to you is the difference between public relations and personal interaction.

Increase your brand awareness…

… then make sure your brand is available everywhere that your target audience is active. The tools change rapidly, and you never know where the next hotspot will be — so you have to be everywhere, within reason. But while you’re there, make sure you’re actually adding value to each community. Otherwise, people will definitely become aware of your brand, but not in the way you’d hoped.


… then make sure you’re giving your audience what they want — and now that you can actually listen to what that is, you have no reason to NOT provide it. (If they’re asking for oranges and you’re still trying to convince them that they need kumquats, your strategy definitely needs an overhaul.)

So, before you get overwhelmed by all the possibilities… why are YOU using social media?

Image by Outside the Camp.


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