I’ve been working with a new client and have quickly come to the realization that they fall into a category I classify as “dabblers”. If you’re a consultant, work at a social media agency or are a social media virtual assistant – you may know this category all too well. Dabblers can exhibit a fairly wide range of external signs and behaviors so they are oftentimes difficult to correctly classify. They may have social presence and they may even have a strategic marketing plan in place. But there’s one irrefutable identifying attribute that all dabblers share and that’s a low level of commitment to social media.
While there’s no quick fix to this ailment, there are several key areas a company suffering from dabbleritis can focus on to get things on track to success:
1. Support from the top. Let’s face it – establishing a plan that’s aligned with strategic objectives and then visibly supporting that plan has to start at the top of the org chart. Enthusiasm and commitment to the plan is subject to the laws of organizational gravity – if it’s not present at the top level it’s not happening at the bottom.
2. Cultural support. If the company culture does not deal well with rapid change, uncertainty and experimentation, it will be difficult to successfully grow with social media. The culture has to embrace these things – learn from these things and have the patience to let small successes morph into larger ones. Also, see #1.
3. Longer term viewpoint. “OK, we’ve been blogging for six months and nothing’s happening. We have 75 likes on our Facebook page after 90 days so that’s not the place for us.” A good question to ask here: what is your most successful marketing investment and how long did it take to get to that level of performance?
4. Adequate support for the social media plan. Whether internally supported or externally supported or a combination of the two, consistent, disciplined support has to be in place in order for success to be realized. Too often, support begins with the greatest intentions and then the normal demands of the business chip away at the support –both structurally and qualitatively. This one is nefarious – even sneaky, so be on high alert.
5. Realistic expectations. It’s best to think of this in terms of the Homo sapiens mobility progression – crawl, walk, run. Do not expect to immediately run; it’s much better to set achievable success metrics for each of these stages in a way that’s congruent with the flow of your business.
If you think about it, in all of life’s endeavors – nothing worthy results unless there is a healthy level of commitment to the cause. It’s no different with social media.