social media business solutionsWhenever there is a new type of technology, media or fad of any kind everyone hops on the new wagon. The foolish think just because it's new, the seat on the new wagon must be better. They think it will cost less, be easier, bring more customers.

It is normal to look for a solution. To hope that something will fix the issues that keeps you up at night. It is normal to hope and dream of the day you can go to sleep without waking up in the middle of the night to solve a problem.

Many do the same thing with social media. They think once they are on Twitter, have a Facebook page, and get everything automated their business problems will be solved. Sorry to break the news to you folks but it is simply not how it works.

The reality is that social media will probably highlight these issues even further. It may even shine like a strobe light on the very broken areas of your business. It may put departments, people and even individuals under pressure. Why? Because you will be forced to talk about these things. Why? Because it is now more out in the open. The communications can not so easily be hidden between a quiet email string between your sales department and strategic partners. Your partners will soon be tweeting you and Facebooking you.

Social media will not fix your broken marketing engine. It will not fix your broken sales department. It will not provide business processes that you don't have. It will not provide you the glue that ties it all together.

Social media is not a bandaid. It is not something that should be bolted on to your business. It is not something you can throw in your back pocket in case you need it on a bad Monday.

The only way you are going to see a positive ROI leveraging social media is if you get yourself organized. You need to set objectives. You need to integrate social media into the DNA of who you are and what you do. You need to integrate social media into your customer service, sales and marketing processes.

Social media is not going away. Do not be one of the left behind. Get on the bus. Get on the train. Get on the wagon. Whatever you want to call it just do something.

Fix your business and leverage social media as a reason to have the discussions that you should have had the past five or more years. Have the guts to lead your team into a new dimension, market and world of opportunity.

15 Success Tips for Any Business New to Social Media

1. Realize you are not the only one. Most businesses have the same problem.

2. Take a leadership role in your organization if possible. If nobody steps up to take charge you are destined to fail.

3. Do not expect your agency to solve your broken business problems unless they are specifically contracted to do such.

4. Do not outsource all of your social media.

5. Develop a plan with goals, objectives and clear roles and responsibilities.

6. Be realistic with allocated budget and resource. Do not sign up for more than you or your agency/ consultant can deliver.

7. Determine success metrics up front.

8. Don't be afraid to admit failure. There is no perfect cook book for social media. We all have good days and bad. Social media is about people and connecting with people. We can't predict with a scientific social media calculator what the exact return on investment for 5 of your employees setting up Facebook fan pages.

9. Don't over analyze or over complicate. Make the decision to either do social media or don't.

10. Along with #9 don't keep making your agency sell you on the fact that you need to do social media. Truth is if they are worth the paper the proposal is written on they have a waiting line to work with them. It is not good for you or them to continue to banter on if you should or shouldn't do social media. Only you can make that decision.

11. Start somewhere. Sitting on the sidelines watching the happy social media train go by is going to do nothing for your business. Either get on the train or don't!

12. Have fun. Don't let it be a negative change in your company. Leverage social media to have the conversations you need to have. Leverage it in a positive way. Use it to redefine roles, processes and strategies if necessary. But keep it light and keep it fun while focused on business. Getting too serious over a tweet is just not a good way to start off a social media campaign.

13. Realize that not everyone is on the train. Even if you have made the decision to move forward with adopting social media as a channel, chances are there are minimum a few who are not on board. Ensure you communicate with your agency on this fact. Don't be afraid to have open communication. Any good agency should be able to help you facilitate the buy-in of team members.

14. Investment in people and training is key. Since social media is one big relationship you must keep your own people as a priority. Focus on their role, objectives and engagement strategies. Your ROI on these activities will be exponential if you take the time up front.

15. Do not use social media as duct tape to hide a problem even longer.  Instead leverage it to your advantage. Be bold. Be brave and you will see results.

Your Turn
What are your thoughts? Have you leveraged social media to have some of the hard discussions, to make needed change in your business? Or are you avoiding social media s you're afraid of skeletons in the closet? If you're an agency or consultant are you also seeing clients  who expect social media to solve their business problems?

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