Social Media: You get what you put into it

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Potatoes from our garden in Vermont

Too often I am shown articles from Mashable and other ‘Social Media is the greatest’ people and agencies that make it seem easy. Post twice a day on Facebook. Schedule some tweets. Now you are on your way to riches.

Every business is different.

Some will start a brand page or twitter account and find people finding them. Some will have to work hard to build  a network and community.

Do I want to be getting updates from my favorite Band? TV Show? Restaurant? Clothing line? Those are pretty easy.

What about your Cable Company? Pickle Brand? Oil Change Shop? Shampoo? Deodorant? Lawn Care Specialist? Maybe less likely?

I have mentioned that every Brand in your life wants to talk with you. How many do you want to

1] Talk to

2] Receive Updates in your Social Network from

3] Only connect for a deal or bribe

4] Never. I buy you at the store so leave me alone. I can find you online anytime I want leave me alone.

I bet 4 is the overwhelming choice for most brands. How do you over come this? Effort. Great content. Stretch the vision of what you represent. Bring humor or a human touch at least.

Oh and then there is time. If I spend 30 mins a day on my company Twitter feed what can I expect in return for that? Is this any different than a direct sales person spending only 30 mins a day selling? What would you expect from that?

The point is a smart Social Media Effort with enough dedicated people hours will pay off. But you can’t do this on Auto-Pilot or with an intern. Social Media is conversational, most push (one way) campaigns fail unless you have a big bribe.

If a client pays me to be the voice of their brand for 90 mins a day across several social networks, they have keep the reality that they get what they invest in. And spending 20 mins a day per network will not result in very much.

That doesn’t mean don’t do it if you can only afford 20-30 minutes a day for a network, you can easily keep an active presence. Any insights gained from the social eco-chatter-system is a positive. You can also support with paid advertising for most networks.

This also doesn’t mean you have to invest. You can easily do without it. Spend your resources elsewhere. But you must accept the reality that for any success in Social Media there must be dedicated time invested.

A sharp Marketer will promise or advise you based on what you are willing to pay for. They will set the proper expectations. They will also frame results properly in the context of time spent. This allows you to gauge the Return on Investment to help drive your investment decisions.

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About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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