Many businesses today use social media or consider using social media for all of the wrong reasons. Social media can revolutionize your business and create a new layer of customer excitement around your products and services. But the impact social media has on your business is limited to how you use it, and how you use it is determined by your reasons for being on social media in the first place.
- Before You Start: You use social media for business. Or, you are considering using social media for your business.
- Learning level: 1 | Social Media Basics
- Article Last Updated: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Your Social Media Mindset
Every once in a while, it’s good to ask yourself the big questions. It helps you to keep focused on the big picture, the real reason why we do the things we do. Today, I’m asking you this:
Why do you use social media?
Don’t go with your first answer. Take a minute. Take a deep breath. Really ask yourself the question.
The question is really important. And so is your answer.
Why You Use Social Media
You might be successful on social media, but if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, you need to adjust your thinking.
What do I mean by the wrong reasons? Here are some less than great reasons for using social media:
- Everyone else uses social media. You didn’t want to be left out, and you wanted to hang out with the cool kids. Maybe your competition had the social media icons on their website, and you wanted to keep up.
- Someone said you should use social media. Lots of people give out advice, and some of it is appropriate for your business. But this means that you don’t have a vision for the value of social media for your business.
- You thought it would bring you lots of new customers and easy sales. While social media can become a thriving aspect of your business, it takes a lot of hard work to reach that point. And if your social media focus is revenue, you miss the greatest benefits of social media.
- The tools are free. It’s true that you don’t pay a monthly fee for using social media tools, but your time (and your staff time) is expensive. In other words, using these free tools is a significant business expense.
- Habit. You started using social media, and now you keep using it because it’s part of your routine. You don’t really think about why you use social media any more. You have lost your vision and your direction on social media.
You could be doing better and getting better results with a good reason for using social media.
Here are some great reasons for using social media:
- Social media lets me talk with my customers. I can send out messages and ask questions that get real-time responses from my community. I can also answer questions they have about my business.
- I have connected with many people in my community I would not have meet in real life. I am more connected to my neighborhood and industry because of social media relationships. I’m always amazed by the people I can access through social media.
- I get great feedback from my customers. It’s nice when they say how much they love my products and services, but I really like finding out how I can expand and improve my offerings. I can see the gems inside less than glowing reviews, too.
- Social media adds a new dimension to my customer relationships. Some of my customers are starting to feel more business friends. That feeling of connection makes my work day more meaningful and enjoyable. And it inspires me with ways I can improve my products and services
Check Your Social Media Reasons
I run into business people every day who want to jump into social media for all of the wrong reasons. That’s okay. Many times, it’s because they don’t fully understand social media and what it can bring to a business. With a little education, some of them catch a vision for social media and successfully add it to their business.
But the bottom line is this: Social media brings a new opportunity to your business. What you do with that opportunity determines how much social media brings to your business. It’s up to you to catch a vision for what is possible with social media.
It’s not enough to sign up for various accounts, or to start broadcasting your same-old traditional marketing messages on these tools. The tools won’t stop you from doing that. But you will never build a community around your business that way. People won’t be drawn to your business, or engage you in conversation if you are using social media as a free sales machine.
So ask yourself today: Why am I using social media? And if the answer isn’t great, it’s time to step back, get inspired, and catch a vision.
Your turn: What is your reason for being on social media? Have you seen your experience change as you change your outlook? Share your insights here.