Taking a Walk Before You Run Approach to Social Media

When companies become enthusiastic about social media, one of the biggest mistakes they make is wanting to do everything right away.

They want to launch a blog, be on Twitter, create a Facebook Page, post photos on Flickr, start a YouTube channel, and establish a presence on LinkedIn.

It’s based on the approach that if you’re going jump into social media, it’s better to take big steps as opposed to small steps – also known as going high or going home.

The problem with attempting to do everything at once is it spreads your social media efforts too thin. As a result, a company’s social media program is, at best, done in a mediocre way.

This frequently means it whatever they are doing with social media fails to capture the imagination of users, leaving companies discouraged about the time and energy being spent o social media.

Then, the inevitable happens: a company decides to abandon its social media program, and dismisses social media as a waste of time.

A better and more pragmatic approach is walking before you run. Rather than trying to do everything, companies are better off to initially select one or two social media services. This “first step” happens after they spend enough time doing research on things such as target markets, the social media services that are resonating with the various constituents, and what success looks like.

It may mean, for example, a company starts with a Facebook Page, while leaving Twitter, a blog and YouTube for another day. Having only one service lets a company focus all its efforts on doing Facebook as well as it can.

If these efforts show solid traction, a company can take its experience, relationships and the things it has learned along the way about social media to another service – be it Twitter, a blog or YouTube.

This approach isn’t as sexy as doing everything out of the game but it’s a far more realistic way to get into social media and, as important, stay in social media.

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