It’s Easy to Half-Ass Social Media

Photo cred: Rennett Stowe

The biggest downfall of social media for business is that it’s really easy to half-ass and think you’re doing it right.

You can set up a twitter account, create a facebook fanpage, and start a blog in a total of 10 minutes. Literally.  So if you’ve done that much, you’ve literally done 10 minutes worth of work. You’ve scratched the surface.  Knowing why and how you will use those tools however, is where the real work comes in.

The reason many continue to question the value of social media, and many fail to draw any value out of their efforts, is because they’re not putting the time and effort into it.

If you read this post, it should pretty much clear up any confusion you have.  Huge props to Amber Naslund for writing such a great post.

No seriously. Stop reading this post and click that link.  It’s so simple, and yet one of the greatest posts I’ve read about social media.  It’s marketing 101 stuff, that we sometimes forget, but is so essential.

It explains very simply, how much thought and planning should be going in to your time spent on social media platforms.

If you’re half-assing it on social media, it’s probably because:

  1. You haven’t thought about why you’re using the tools in the first place.
  2. You haven’t set objectives with specific goals that you aim to reach (and can measure to determine your success).

Are you tweeting just to tweet, or are you tweeting with a purpose.  Do you have a specific goal in mind?

It’s easy to half ass social media, but not if you want real, identifiable results.  To access the business value in social media, takes as much time and effort as any other business strategy.

10 thoughts on “It’s Easy to Half-Ass Social Media

  1. Really important conversation to have, David. Nice work. I’ll try not to half-ass this comment :).

    You’ve highlighted a really interesting behavior cycle that we as a society can’t seem to get out of when it comes to new technology — we focus too much on the cool toys and not enough on how they can help us achieve our goals.

    IOW, I think the point you make in the last paragraph — “To access the business value in social media, takes as much time and effort as any other business strategy” — can’t be understated. As Amber points out in her post, how can your social media objectives help you get back up the chain to achieve your department and overall brand goals.

    As a communicator still in my first six months of agency life, the thing I am finding the most frustrating is the majority of clients (and even some PR pros) have only done that 10 minutes of work you mention above and so they think social media strategy is something “anyone can do.” Thus, they don’t want to pay for it and they often hand it off to someone else who already has too much on their plate and didn’t ask for the extra dessert.

    Developing social media objectives, strategies and tactics is not something brands can half ass. They wouldn’t half ass a traditional marketing plan, so why is it ok to do so when it comes to social media?

    Thanks for the perspective. Cheers.

    Justin Goldsborough

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Justin. Sounds like you and I are on the same page on this one. The more I learn as a BUSINESS professional using social media, the mroe I find how similar it is to other business practices. I guess a good way to describe it is, the HOW might be different from other methods in the communications mix, but the WHY is the same.

  2. Great post, David. I find it interesting how many of the businesses that half ass their social media strategy are ones that have already half assed the other parts of their business. They start to fail, look to other avenues (social media) to improve business, and think “oh, well I’ve been on Facebook for two years, and that’s been easy, so using social media for my business MUST be easy.”

    The historically smart businesspeople get it, for the most part. The ones that historically half ass their efforts are going to do the same for social media. The difference with social media is that your half-assing is much more public.

    1. I think part of it is that they’re not used to using social media for business purposes. They see the business value in social media, but are used to using it recreationally, and so they approach it with a sort of recreational business approach. aka, half ass. They need to approach it with the same mentality that they would any other medium.

  3. Great post, David. The biggest mistake I see businesses making is outsourcing their social media operations to a PR firm. You can’t keep social media at arms length and expect to learn anything. Same tired old interruption marketing strategy. You have to keep you pulse on social media to get the full benefit, which means someone on the senior leadership team of the company has to be personally active.

    1. I’m not sure that I agree with that. Depending on the situation and the business, outsourcing may be a smart option. Of course, in terms of engaging with customers and building relationships/communities, that can’t be outsourced. It depends on the campaigns that you’re running. ie. if you wanted to launch a new marketing campaign or a contest, that’s something that an agency can help you with. You would then collaborate on leveraging these campaigns with social media in mind.

  4. Hey Spinks. Another great post where I totally agree. I find as I speak to more and more companies about their social media work is that they tend to do exactly as you state here. I continually get “We already are using Social Media. We have a Twitter page and a Facebook account, were fine.” The next question I ask is “What is your strategy behind your social media accounts?” That is where the fun begins. Strategy, goals, and objectives are needed. Soft metrics (clicks, page views, sentiment, etc.) are fine for the short term, but the more important part is looking at how it leads to revenue in the long-term. Most companies overlook this fact.

    1. Right. Okay, you have a facebook page. How are you putting it to use? Why? How does it tie in to your goals for your business? Can you measure that? All important questions that need to be approached.

  5. “If you’re half-assing it on social media, it’s probably because… You haven’t thought about why you’re using the tools in the first place.”

    You nailed this entire article with these words, David. If you don’t know the WHY of having a tool in the first place, you shouldn’t buy into it. The HOW can come later, but the WHY should be known first.

    To make an analogy, Twitter is as much a tool as a garden rake. Rakes come in all sizes and number of tines. If you don’t know why you buy a particular rake, you’ll never know how to use it and you’ll be looked upon as half-assed indeed.

    1. Good analogy ^_^ But that’s exactly it. If you’re just trying to look like your doing something, without knowing why, it’s very easy to convince yourself that you’re not half assing it, when you in fact are. And remember, the rake doesn’t make a good gardener. ^_^

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