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Many businesses are interested in employing social media to their benefit but there are a number of challenges that make social media a challenging proposition.

One of them is making social media sustainable. As exciting as it can be to start using Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media websites, excitement usually wears off real fast and many businesses struggle to sustain their social media efforts.

Here are some tips for making sure your business doesn't get social media burnout:

  • Start by listening. Before going native, observe. Get a feel for how people interact on the various social sites that you're looking at and monitor what people are saying (if anything) about your company on them.
  • Evaluate. Based on what you've observed, evaluate what sort of direct participation makes sense for you. Perhaps social media will best serve as a marketing platform. Or perhaps it is better suited to a customer service function. Until you study social media and how it relates to your business, you won't know.
  • Set goals. Social media (like SEO) may be a journey, not a destination but that doesn't mean that you want to meander. By setting goals, you'll make sure you don't wind up going in circles.
  • Allocate resources. Most companies can't afford to have an employee tweeting away all day. So you have to figure out what sort of commitment you can make given the resources you have. If you commit too much early on, you'll eventually lose momentum and people will notice. By allocating the right amount of resources to your efforts from the get-go, you'll help set clear expectations for everyone, consumers included.
  • Start slowly. A lot of people will tell you that you need to be on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and a dozen other popular sites. But nothing is worth doing unless it's done right so don't be pressured into signing up for a ton of services right off the bat. Pick one or two that make the most sense and do a great job before expanding your social media horizons.
  • Pick the right people. Don't make the mistake of handing off social media duties to an employee just because he or she signed up for Twitter before everyone else. Figure out which employees within your organization are best positioned to support your efforts and get them educated and involved.
  • Make social media relevant. Let's face it: it can get pretty boring managing a Twitter account or Facebook Page. If your employees look at social media tasks as just one more thing they're burdened with before the day is out, social media won't work for you. By making sure social media is relevant to their job functions, you'll help ensure they see social media as more than just another daily chore.

Photo credit: Paul Keleher via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 2 June, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2380 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Dr Mark K. Smith

Here's an interesting fact that should grab the attention of any corporate reading this excellent piece. ipadio.com is a phone blogging service (we call it phlogging, obviously) it allows people to make a telephone call from any phone and for that call to be live streamed on the internet. The remarkable fact about ipadio is buried in it's analytics, 27% of referrals to ipadio.com come from Twitter, less than 15% from Google. Now this is simply because of a code connection between ipadio and Twitter - a phlog becomes a Tweet at the time of broadcast - so when ipadio was used by Boris Johnson (dear beloved leader of london), his 31,000+ Twitter followers were alerted to a phlog. Corporates should try and embrace these technologies - but not in a boring (no followers) or spamming (we're ace, we are, look) kind of way, mobilise staff to make their microblogs real - the warts and all truth about your company. You'll gain followers by being open and honest - and all the time you are doing this you are building a realtime channel for your serious messages. Go on give it a go, the water's warm and the natives are (mostly) friendly. Cheers, Mark

about 7 years ago

Damian Kimmelman

Damian Kimmelman, Director at We Are VI Ltd.

I think a glaring ommission here is Share Your Experiences. In the wild west that is Social Media there is so much to be learned from the pioneers in this sector. Anyone involved at this stage has worthwhile experience to share and no one group of people can know it all. The good work done by Measurement Camp should be supported and collective wisdom should be harnessed for the benefit of everyone (that ended up sounding a little gushy..)

http://measurementcamp.wikidot.com/start

Tom

www.ale2.co.uk

about 7 years ago

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Ehsan Khodarahmi

Social Media (SM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) needs strategy in place like any other marketing activities; to avoid burnout. This article mentioned number of great tips to start with SM and practice SMM.

SM is all about engagement, as you all know, and creating interesting discussions and take part in others discussions. It is all about socialising, but professionally - at least listen as much as much we talk!Defining purpose is incredibly important in the world of SM.

The whole thing with SM and SMM can be start by asking self what, why, when, where and how questions.

about 7 years ago

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Ryan Jones

about 7 years ago

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Dan Hutson

Good advice, especially the point about evaluation. The kneejerk response to the question "what's it for" seems to be sales and/or marketing, probably because everyone wants to see a return on their social media investment.

If an organization starts from the question "what problems can we solve for our customers," then I think the answers get more interesting. Then we start seeing social media's potential as a customer service tool, or a research tool, or even an internal communication tool.

As much as I love marketing, social media offers far greater promise for organizational innovation.

about 7 years ago

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Jill

Social Media can be an effective means for your business to grow.  It's basically a free way of advertising your products or services, but you need to understand how it works to use it successfully. Just having a presence is not enough.

about 7 years ago

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