We are all in a rush. There is the holiday rush. There is the morning rush. There is the lunch rush. Now add to it the social media rush. The social media rush is the act of throwing your company headlong and hell bent into the social media rapids. If you do this without a little forethought (actually make the a lot of forethought) you are asking for trouble.
For all of the social media efforts I have been involved in, watched from a distance or discussed with social media “types” I am seeing a recurring theme. While there is success there is also abject failure and frustration. The “industry” doesn’t like to talk about failure. Truth is that most things fail several times before they become the success that everyone imagines happened “just like that”.
So failure is normal. How do you minimize the possibility in the social media realm? I think you simply need to follow sage advice handed down through the ages that has been applied to virtually everything: stop, look and listen. What this technique will create is a more complete awareness of where you are, what you are actually doing and a vision of where you would like to go.
Stop – While this flies against conventional wisdom, it may be a good thing to at least slow down. Social media tends to get a very quick “critical mass” where it just takes on its own look and then continues down that path regardless of what you really are looking to accomplish through it. So just stop for a minute. Quit tweeting and posting and updating statuses just long enough to get to the next step.
Look – Here’s where you take a look at everything you are doing in social media with an objective point of view. It may be worth bringing in this objective party since you may not be able to fully put aside your biases. Take a full-blown assessment of where you AND your competition are in the social media space. Which leads to the next step.
Listen – Once you have slowed down enough to see what is really going on you need to listen very carefully to what your social media target market is really looking for. While it may be painful to learn that you have been missing the mark on this one (or exciting that you are nailing it) it is the idea that by listening you can confirm your hunches, gut feelings and suspicions on where success is in social media for your company.
While these may seem a bit over-simplified that may be just what you need. Often getting back to basics and slowing down the “rush” can make you see something that you didn’t in the blur of just getting things done.
In the meantime, all this talk about the rush made me think of a song by one of my favorites, Peter Gabriel. Stop, look and listen if you would like (actually I couldn’t find a decent video so there is a lot more listening on this one).
Thanks for your time.