Taming the Social Media Beast

If you hadn't already noticed, social media is not just a passing trend. It's here to stay and it's important. The question is how can you jump on board successfully, especially if you have a small staff or are running on a tight budget? Here are some important facts to consider:
1. According to Nielsen media research time spent on social networking grew by 277% in the United States alone this past year. You were part of that percentage. The question is how? Were you posting information about your message, who you are and what you are doing or just reading about others who were doing it? If it was only the latter, this is your time to make that change.
2. It is not all about increased sales or donations. Social networking is about building relationship. It's about significant quality communication. If done well, the sales and donations will follow.
3. It is not all about time. Make no mistake, there is a time investment involved if you choose to jump into social media and do it well. If you are able, this may be the time to hire a savvy, techy college student on a part-time basis (who has to thoroughly grasp your message and your heart) to begin to make your voice heard. However, the time investment can vary significantly. Whether you can invest 5 hours per week or 5 hours per day, every step you take, if you will be consistent, can pay off.
4. It is about consistency. Whether you are starting with a blog, Twitter or Facebook, the key is to have a consistent presence. Also, don't confuse the two mediums. Twitter is your short and sweet update from 1-100 times per day depending on your style. Facebook is for lengthier, more content driven posts.
5. It is about community. If you launch with information only about you, your product, your business, your brand, you're going to be alone. This isn't an exclusive advertising tool. Provide content that makes us care. Give us something that applies to our lives and can be beneficial to a larger audience. Tell us about a great article or tool that you just discovered.
Then watch your "like" monitor go up.