I was going to title this post You Can't Eat An Elephant In One Bite but, considering the Sociallogical brand, I considered it too cute.

But the "analysis paralysis" that blocks so many important business decisions, coupled with a business generation's widespread personal discomfort with certain aspects of the social media phenomenon, stops most businesses in their tracks. They don't know where to start.

In 2015, Almost everyone has blind spots as there is now too much knowledge and too many things to consider for any one person to master. And so, when it comes to social media and what a business should do with it, very few know what they need, who can provide it, or how much it should cost.

Those Who Have Taken A Step Are Several Steps Ahead

The Road to social media influence is very different for those with some success vs those starting from scratch.

By "some success", I mean if your company has a decent-sized following on social media for your market on at least one of the mainstream social networks (facebook, twitter etc.) and at least a dozen or more people who really care about your business according to the data.

When we have a client with some success we can collect some data to inform a strategy for them. For example, with a dozen or more influencers, we can build real-world connections. These real relationships are what really drive social media engagement. Clients who have had some success also have some sense of the complexity of the effort and why some methods may be a waste of time and money.

Paying for social media doesn't mean you are paying for social media success. [tweet this]

With a well-researched strategy, properly implemented, companies like this can usually realize great outcomes within a year.

The Majority

Trying and failing to get anywhere on social media has become a right of passage for 99% of the companies who have bothered to try at all. Believe it or not, not trying at all is still where the majority of companies are at in 2015.

We all have heard stories about huge business success using social media; clever campaigns that make people care about the product or cause and support it with action and spending. But there are millions of businesses in the world and the successes are so few they can still be counted.

In my own home province, I can name a few dozen organizations who use social media really well, in local markets and global ones. They are true successes and I admire the intelligence and creativity of the people behind the work.

But there are tens of thousands of businesses and organizations in our province. The ratio is not good. And our province is not unusual. In fact, if anything, the data shows that we may be one of the most advanced zones in the world in our use of social media.

So I am speaking to the majority when I say: In 2015, most professional people don't know what to expect or how to get it from social media. They are more than likely just like you.

Start Here.

Start with an understanding. Find answers to the basic questions:

  • What could and should social media do for our company?
  • What are the best social media platforms for MY business and how can I find out?
  • How is advertising different on social media and what's the best way to use it?
  • What is the best way for me to invest my time or my staff's time on a daily basis?
  • What measurements matter and how can I measure them?
  • What does a complete social business strategy look like?
  • What should I share and where can I find it (or create it)?

If you're in the majority, you're in good company because we are learning from each other. For every business that successfully builds a community around their brand, a few more watch the steps they took and mimic them. Or at least they learn a few things that help them solve the puzzle.

More so than any other consultant, employee, or agency you could hire to help your business, the people who take charge of social media for you need to have some skills in teaching and mentoring -  and a really great aptitude for hospitality, because social is about people.

Social media will never be one person's job. In fact, it probably shouldn't even be a term we regard as separate from other forms of communication. Social media needs to part of the fabric of how every organization operates because most of the team will be needed to support the strategy. Eventually.

When the telephone was first introduced, most businesses banned it from their offices because they considered it a distraction. As the years passed they came to understand it and eventually they embraced it, mastered it, and required the use of it by everyone (imagine a colleague refusing to use a phone in your office).

Every organization has blind spots and, for most, social media is on that list. Yes, still. The ones who figure it out and run with it are the ones who work to fully understand it. There's still a lot of time to get there.