Social media doesn't mean you get a ticket to the party

Social media. Everyone is doing it, but not everyone is doing it effectively.

Social media. Everyone is doing it, but not everyone is doing it effectively.

One of the issues I run into with new clients is that they always say, “We have to get some of that social media stuff. Can you do that? Huh? Can you?”

Sure, I can, but social media is very much like a tiger in a cage with the door open. The tiger is the public. Businesses have raw meat - the social media content - in their hands and they are essentially throwing it at the door of the cage hoping that the tiger will eat that rather than the company. The problem is that most of these companies don't have enough steak to keep the tiger from eating them, so they resort to acting like they are throwing meat, which only annoys the tiger, and they get eaten anyway. If they find some real meat - it is there if your marketing director is doing his job - come back and start throwing again.

There's a reason they call it a “pitch.” It has a double meaning. You can create content (noun) that makes your public tiger content (adjective).

With dated social media, that business is actually hurting itself. Those companies would be better off without it. The other side of this “coin of content” is that inane information is posted. They believe they have to keep the content coming, but only if people can actually glean something useful. Avoid Twitter feeds about the taco stand that employees just visited - unless the taco stand in question is a client, and then you should be hyperlinking it. With careful insight, companies can avoid the trap social media offers of just appearing to throw meat. Have you ever played catch with your dog? Act like you're throwing the ball and the dog will wander off. The same thing happens when you throw imaginary meat at the public. The difference is that this tiger eats you.

It's all about content, but just because you have a terrific blog, a great website, or content, this by itself will not increase traffic. Social media doesn't guarantee a ticket to the party. It must be earned. Most companies still believe that “because everyone else does it,” they must have it in place or they will miss out. Social media is a tool to be used to get the real “meat” out to the masses.

I had a client that was so concerned with SEO, it wanted to issue press releases irrelevant to its practice - a big no-no when it comes to PR. It failed to see that without a conduit for the public to find its social media, it was dead in the water. When you are interviewed on TV or radio, in a magazine or newspaper, or even on the Internet in some capacity in a legitimate press outlet, that is what will drive those SEO factors. People still get the vast majority of their information from news from the “big three” - TV, radio and print.

I don't see the impact that traditional media has changing over the next five years. Blogs are terrific, but if there is no one reading them, is that helpful? Think about a PR effort. Even getting out there for six months can have an enormous impact on the saturation levels you can achieve within your zone of potential clients and customers. Then you'll have something worthwhile to share.

Bretton Holmes is the owner of Holmes World Media.

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