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Jumping into the Social Waters

It’s an exciting time when a small business finally decides to dive head first into the social web and start connecting with customers online. It’s similar to a child learning how to swim for the first time. When I was a young kid, I didn’t want to swim. I was afraid. Afraid of drowning, afraid of just being in the water, afraid I might get attacked by a shark (in a public swimming pool… Yes, I was a little weird). I just wasn’t going in. Much to my dismay, one summer my parents made me take swimming lessons. It turned out to be  a great thing, because I learned what I was doing and thus overcame the fear.

This isn’t about overcoming the hesitation of jumping in. Everyday more and and more companies are using social media and it’s a beautiful thing, however there’s a still a huge problem that keeps showing up.

Business owners and management are not taking their swimming lessons.

Many companies are jumping in because they see others doing it. Sometime it’s the competition who sparks the action. When other kids are in the pool, splashing around, and doing tricks off the diving board it makes it that much more tempting to want to join them. When you see an establishment with 500 Twitter Friends, a sharp looking Facebook landing page, and a Foursquare check in special, it might appear that your business is missing out on opportunities (and believe me, you are). It’s important to start getting active as soon as possible, but don’t do so at the expense of taking a blind leap into unfamiliar territory. You wouldn’t jump into a 20ft deep pool without knowing how to swim, especially if there wasn’t a lifeguard on duty. It isn’t smart or safe.

There are too many examples out there of businesses doing without thinking and doing without preparing.

What tools are you going to use? More importantly, where are your customers? Are they on Myspace? Are they on forums and message boards? Would an investment towards creating YouTube videos be a good way to reach them?

What’s the strategy? You’ve created a Twitter page, but how are you going to use it? Will it be a marketing platform, a customer service tool, a news outlet? All of the above?

How will you monitor your progress? What returns are you looking for on your investment?

The Bottom Line

Be prepared. Have a game plan. If you don’t you could end up struggling to stay afloat or even end up drowning. With just a little bit of education and preparation you’ll have success. Take your swimming lessons. Become the Michael Phelps of the social web.

Sparkplug Digital can be your personal swim coach! Contact us and let us know how we can help your business reach its full potential audience.

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