My husband offered his encouragement that I just had to keep trying and that with practice my efforts would pay off. There I was struggling to come up with a blog post title to house my thoughts on why people shouldn’t give up on their social media efforts too early and BAM.
It’s amazing the life lessons you can find while you’re in the kitchen.
Okay – so here goes . . .
1. Know what you’re making.
It’s important to understand how to make what it is you want to enjoy or have the good sense to hire people who can make it for you. If you want to enjoy a vibrant online community around your brand . . . you’ll need to stop behaving badly online and know how to use the tools, have a list of ingredients (strategy, shrimp, resources, spices and commitment to continued learning) and a willingness to kick your fear of making mistakes to the curb.
I’m pretty sure Julia Child dropped her fair share of potato pancakes and I’m damn sure that just as many leading social media thinkers have flubbed up on occasion. I know I have. So be prepared to fail faster.
2. Have everything you need at arms reach.
This little pearl of advice came from friend and client Ben Roberts, owner of Undercurrent Restaurant and provider of the best damn lobster and shrimp spring rolls I’ve ever had. (Thanks Ben!)
Once you know what you’re making, get everything you need and keep it at arms reach. Seems simple enough right? Well, some of these things will take a certain amount of prep work.
This means taking time to learn how to use social media management tools like HootSuite, keeping all of your apps up to date and authenticated, keeping your goals top of mind and of course commit yourself to be prepared for an opportunity when it arrives. Constantly be on the look out for articles and posts that keep you sharp and in your flow.
3. Keep the water warm.
Having the right temperature when you soak your spring roll wrappers is crucial. Too cold and they remain stiff and gummy . . . too hot and they curl up and become a gluey mess.
The same goes for your conversations online.
If there is someone in your company (or possibly you!) that is in charge of your online voice but doesn’t have the time, slightest interest or commitment to investing in your success as a brand online by actively engaging, you need to relieve them of their duties (or step aside) and find someone who is.
I personally feel that you/your staff are the most qualified to engage with your online community. You are the one’s coming face to face with your clients in person, so why not be the one who is “face to face” with them online? You can absolutely get help creating content, but that content falls flat if there is no one to engage with fans and followers who like, RT or comment.
Let’s get one thing clear . . . content creation and distribution does not equal that certain something special that happens when you engage with people you know and do business with. Remember that it IS social media after all and your fans and followers want to talk to you! And they are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest . . . I think you get my point.
If your company’s social efforts are languishing . . . consider carefully that it may not be the social media that isn’t working for your brand but who on your team is participating (or not).
Investing in training, staying informed by reading tech blogs, getting inspired and above all else being interested in the people who invest in your brand will help keep the conversations with, about and surrounding your brand nice and warm.
As with any recipe, measuring your content and having a strategy as well as recognizing an opportunity to be creative is par for the course if you want to have a memorable meal. But this advice comes with a word to the wise. . . know exactly what you are adding to your mixing bowl. Get salt confused with sugar for one recipe and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
As you get more comfortable in your online kitchen, so to speak, you will soon realize that developing a routine and setting realistic goals within your reach will keep you from ordering take out.
I myself struggle with how many blog posts a week I should make and whether or not I should I be on a set schedule. I often wonder if I need to push out a blog post or be active on social media even if I’m not in the mood. I ask myself if I should I take a weekend “off” a month to write my blog post content and schedule it or trust my gut and write when I’m inspired and in the moment.
I shared these thoughts because I want you to know that each brand has it’s own measurement of success. It’s your content and your commitment that will give you what you need and show you where you can add a little more and where you need to trim back.
Having too much or not enough of any content can ruin your dish. Trust me, I went through a few wrappers last night and have hit plenty of dry spells on my blog.
Last night, as I continued to learn the right balance of content and tension as I was pulling ingredients together in my fragile spring roll wrappers, it dawned on me how easy it might be to give up if I had a few broken wrappers in a row. If I gave up after my first five or six tries, I would never know how great my spring rolls could be.
If you give up on a social network because it’s “too hard to understand” or you “just don’t have time to play” but it’s the one network your customers and community are active on . . . your bottom line will eventually pay the price.
Let me give you an example : If your brand is reliant on a trade event like High Point Furniture Market, it would be crucial that the person/people on your staff that are responsible for your online voice remain engaged, supportive and actively listen to all of the people, brands and bloggers that make the shared event and your livelihood successful year round.
To only be active in and around your annual or biannual event is a big “I’m only here because I have to be” message that goes out loud and clear to those who support the industry event your business exists for. Your brand should remain engaged year round, participating in chats, curating lists of people that are important to you and managing online conversations with an industry that’s already online.
There is one thing that will make your investment in social media take a nose dive . . . when the person in charge of your online voice is not fully committed to utilize the resources and tools made available to share what makes your brand (or you) stand apart. Some brands have multiple team members who share their voices online via blog posts, content creation and engagement. Each person fully committed to sharing the time investment and learning together.
Finding the right voice for your brand and your own balance of helpful, timely content is a challenge many face. There is no cookie cutter solution for everyone or for every brand. There are best practices and time saving techniques that you can learn. You can also develop your own recipe that brings you the highest ROR. (That’s Return on Relationship)
Take your time, keep trying and ask those who are successful at spring rolls (or social media) for a few pointers. But just don’t ask to “pick their brain” mmmkay?
Don’t worry, I’ll post the recipe to my spring rolls soon! :)
What have you learned from cooking that has made you a better student/employee/business owner?