Knowing whether you need social media |

Knowing whether you need social media

Marie Murgolo-Poore

Remember in the 1980s when anyone who was anyone in the computer industry felt pressured to participate in the COMDEX trade shows? Not to be seen there was considered the kiss of death; others would perceive you to be on your way out of the market. Many businesses spent a lot of money there, and what did they have to show for it? If the only objective was to be seen there, then the answer would be … not much (well, it did help COMDEX founder Shelly Adelson earn the enviable position of the 5th wealthiest American and 16th wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes).

Today, many businesses, regardless of their size, find themselves feeling the same pressure to have a social media presence. Unfortunately, if your only objective for having that presence is you don’t want to be seen as not having one, you will probably not have much to show for it (oh, yes, except for making someone else rich).

You must have clearly defined objectives for your social media presence, whether it is your website or Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages. So before you cull through gigabytes of information provided by social media experts regarding context, visual appeal, interactivity and more, here are eight simple tips to develop those vital objectives:

Review your organization’s overall objectives.

Remember that everything you do should support the organization’s overall objectives. This is important at all times, but especially so when resources are limited. Don’t waste efforts.

Review your marketing objectives.

Your marketing objectives should have be developed with above tip in mind.

Social media objectives must support your overall marketing objectives.

Social media is another medium by which you further your organization’s overall goals and objectives; it is not a force unto itself. It must work with all other brand “touch points” to deliver an integrated and synergistic marketing communications effort. As its name implies, social media is one of the most powerful tools we have to create a community. What Frank Fiore wrote in “Tech TV’s Starting an Online Business,” “E-commerce is all about the three Cs: Content, Commerce and Community,” still holds true today. Social media is the ultimate user of content to build community (which drives commerce). When we look at the strongest brands, the self-actualized ones, we see strong communities of people who blur the lines between customers and groupies.

Identify who you need to reach to achieve your marketing objectives and ensure they are connected into web-based and mobile technologies.

Although 2 billion people worldwide are connected to web-based and mobile technologies, there are still more than 4.9 billion who are not. Also, within the group that has access, not everyone participates. Remember 500 million people are on Facebook, but that leaves 6,414,657,308 who are not. Once you determine the market you want to reach is connected, then find out as much information about them as possible. Don’t just rely on demographics as they tell you very little about your target audience. If they are online, there is available a wealth of granular data about psychographics, lifestyle and buying habits.

Define a measurable outcome.

In business, you are only as good as your measurable results. Quantify your objectives so you will not only be able to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, but also to show the organization measurable results (this goes a long way in creating and maintaining credibility for your social media efforts).

Set a timeframe to achieve your measurable objective.

Some say an objective without a deadline is just a wish. Establish regularly scheduled strategic monitoring and evaluating, so you can make timely modifications to ensure greater success. Also, a firm timeframe enables clearly defined process objectives to directly correlate to points along the timeline continuum.

Delineate your process objectives from your outcome objectives.

It is just as important to determine how you are going to reach your goals and objectives as it is to know what they are. As they say, an objective without a plan is a dream. Process objectives show how you will reach your outcome objectives within the established timeframe.

Develop reasonable and achievable objectives that require you to get out of your comfort zone and stretch your capabilities.

Studies have shown if an objective is so out of reach that there is no hope of achieving it, little effort will be put into it. This is because there is a built-in excuse to not meet it. Alternately, easily achievable objectives create a lack of motivation, and in some cases, can be counter-productive because those put in charge of achieving them feel belittled by the task. The stars you have working for you are inspired by a good challenge and will ‘bring it’ when given one.

Once your objectives are set, you need to have the right people working to achieve them. Make sure your social media guru understands the business side as well as she understands the technical and social sides of the job. Also, work with those involved in achieving your social media objectives to set those objectives; the architects of the plan will be its most fervent supporters.

So, if you want to get something out of your social media effort, be objective driven, accountable and, most importantly, have fun with it, because if you are not having fun how can you expect your community to!

Marie Murgolo-Poore is the interim dean of the Truckee Meadows Community College Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division and associate dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship. She can be reached at


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