At the end of October I had the privilege to ‘pitch’ my business idea to the lovely ladies at Fair Comment. I have to say it was a great experience! Not only did I learn a few things about myself (I did not expect that) but I also found that my business idea has more use than I first envisioned and got some good business advice. It was also nice to hear about the other two business pitched and the comments from the panel.
One of the key things I took away from my experience at Fair Comment is the accessibility of my idea, or lack of accessibility to the understanding of some. Now, accessibility is something I preach about in social media constantly so I was a bit shocked that I was finding it difficult to make this idea accessible.
I know social media must be made available to everyone’s understanding. It is something I try to work on myself, I don’t believe in charging clients’ money if they cannot understand what social media is, what we are doing and why we are doing it. I am doing something wrong if I cannot achieve this! So why was it difficult to pitch in an accessible way?
Yes, the idea is pretty out there and there are a few issues I knew that needed more attention but the basic premise of the idea should be simple. I was told my granny should be able to understand the idea. My granny knows nothing about computers let alone social media! This may be more difficult than first thought?!
I know I will get there, I just need to think simply and I am still very much in the idea development stage. The whole experience got me thinking about social media success in general. We are still learning about social media and understanding is limited. Not only should social media be accessible to our understanding from a strategy perspective but our use of social media in a professional sense should also be accessible to the understanding of the people we are trying to connect to and engage with.
What I am talking about is developing social media strategies that no one really gets or engaging with content that is misinterpreted or pitched badly. While I’ve found, in my own doctoral research, that individuals are getting more attuned to evaluating content and making inferences from communication received, some can still be lost in translation.
Social media is only as powerful as the people who consume and engage with it. You will not find success unless the messages are simple. Social media is also highly driven by ‘the consumer’, the way in which they use social media in respect to you or your brand may not be the way you had first envisioned. This is why I always advocate for research before stepping off into the social media unknown. You need to ensure that the culture of your organisation is able to be reflexive enough for consumer uses of social media. I say again, social media is more than marketing!
So a check list to get you started:
- Think about why you want to purse a social media strategy. What do you hope to achieve? How can you measure success?
- Conduct consumer research: how are they using the media? What platforms are they using? What content are they looking for? Can you engage with them? Are they open to engagement? How can you reach your strategic aim from exploring current consumer behaviour?
- Look internally, is your organisation set up to handle a social business culture? Who is going to be responsible for social media? I would think it would be more than the marketing department. The size of the company and responsiveness of internal communication is key to ensuring social success, this is why I call it a social business culture.
- In planning social strategy think about proactive and reactive strategies. How can you engage with customers and be responsive to their engagement?
- Keep messages, campaigns or whatever else you are doing simple. Can your granny understand it?
So your aim, consumer research, internal structure (think social culture) and keeping interactions simple are all important in stepping out in social. Remember Keep it Simple Stupid!
I’m going back to take my own advice and simplify the pitch. It needs to be accessible for it to be successful. I think I’m going to try my hand at the Bright Business Competition run by New Start Scotland. There is an exhibition on the 18th and 19th of November for start-up support, tickets are free. As well as the support I’m keen to see what social media advice they are offering… I promise to be nice!