Social Media – When To Jump In

It has to be one of the most popular questions that I hear from marketers – “When should I jump into social media programs?”  Some complain about the ongoing commitment.  They worry that once they start, they won’t be able to stop.  Others are concerned about legal liability associated with what they say.  Still others are concerned about setting guidelines and restrictions for their employees and what they can share.  Guess what, all of these issues are very real and very much a part of the new world of marketing.  While companies are right to worry about these things, many are missing the bigger opportunity to effectively use social media to create a deep connection with customers and prospects.  The strength of this connection is based on one thing – the value of the information that you can share.  Knowledge and the ability to share it effectively is the new currency of the web.  So when should you jump into social media?  The answer is easy – when you have something meaningful to share.

As for all of the detail questions that people tend to focus on, consider this – the audience will show you that they value your material as they connect and read it.  Metrics are easy and as long as you remember that it take time and proper promotion of your social media material to build a following.  Based on these metrics, you can easily and objectively decide if the effort is worth the return.  Legal issues and guideline of what to say are important but certainly not new to marketing.  These guidelines already exist for things like advertising, and consider the restriction that you make around one of your coworkers speaking at a physical conference.  Providing readers guidelines like those found at make it easy to empower your company’s topic experts.

Remember, the new currency of the web is useful information.  If you have it to share, then you owe it to the marketplace to get it into their hands in whatever fashion you can.  Social media makes that access fast and easy and provides you with an objective way of measuring the response to your material.   So test the waters and jump into social media when you are fully prepared.