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Let’s face it, almost everyone is using social media these days to promote their business – especially small businesses. Unfortunately, most small business owners think that being on Facebook and having a Twitter account is a great strategy – WRONG! Here are a few things that you should know when venturing into the social mediaworld:

* Social Media Isn’t an add-on!

Many people look at social media as an add-on to their current plan – don’t! To use social media effectively as a market tool it must be able to stand alone. Why should I go to Facebook to get the same deal I can get in a newspaper ad? Your social media identity should be consistent with your established identity. Don’t create a new logo just for Facebook or Twitter – adapt your current logo to work for you in social sites. Most importantly, integrate social media into you pre-existing public relations, communications and/or marketing plan. There’s no need to recreate the wheel. Social media is just like adding new rims on your car.

* Strategy Directs Tactics, not Tactics Direct Strategy

Too many businesses look at Facebook as a strategy. Being on Facebook is their strategy. The reality is that Facebook is a tool, which means it is a tactic. With that in mind, being on Facebook cannot be your strategy, it has to be a tactic used in your strategic plan.

I know, I know, you’re thinking what is he talking about? There are distinct differences between strategies and tactics. A strategy is a plan of action to reach a particular goal or objective, while a is a device for accomplishing an end.

In other words, your strategy would be using social networking sites and media to expand and promote your business. Facebook, Twitter, Google+. YouTube, Yelp, etc would be the tactics you are going to employ to help reach the goals and objectives in your strategy.

* Think Communications

I am literally talking about communicating with people. Social media is just that… social. Inherently, social mediais used for a two way conversation. Political campaigns forget about this all the time. They post things about money bombs, precinct walks, phone banking or using their logo as your profile picture, but never post about things that would insight conversation. Traditional methods of communicating with the public – print, radio, tv, mail are unidirectional.

Social media allows you to connect with people, and influence the conversation. When decide to use social media, create a strategy and design a plan, which looks at ways you can get people to talk in a positive manner about your company or campaign.

* Use Small Talk

Social networking sites are like going to a party. There are tons of people listening to what you are saying hoping for a chance to express their opinion on your conversation. Commonly, most people use small talk to get the conversation started. I’m not talking about, “How’s the weather,” small talk. I’m talking about something going on in current events, or what happened last night on a TV show. People are already talking about these subject, use them as a way to connect it with you, then lead the conversation in the direction you want to go.

* Don’t Do Nothing

Stay involved! There’s nothing worse than a company or campaign that uses social media when it’s convenient to them. Not only does it turn customers and supporters off, it makes it seems like you are using social mediabecause you have to use social media. Don’t follow the trend, lead the trend!

If you’re only using social media because you have to use social media, do me a favor – don’t use social media.

* Don’t Do it Alone

While developing a strategy, don’t go in thinking that you don’t need any help. A proper social media strategy can make or break your social media reputation, which in turn can make our break your business or campaign reputation. Social media should fall under public relations and involve your communications and marketing team. If you don’t have a PR department, communications or marketing team – hire a consultant. While you wouldn’t prescribe your own medicine for a cold, and wouldn’t argue a case in front of a judge, you shouldn’t try to develop and manage your own social media, if you haven’t done it before.

* Don’t get Caught up in Numbers

Finally, don’t worry about how much money Facebook will bring into your business. While people will try to convince you that they can prove the ROI on social media, don’t believe them. There is no fool proof way to measure what Facebook is bringing in your door, unless your selling products on Facebook. The bottom-line on social media ROI is being in business next year, and increasing your social media presence. Set goals in your social media strategy on growth (fans, followers, etc) and measure your ROI based on this growth.

If you don’t have a strategy, get one. Not sure how to start one, give us a call (916) 877-4796. We’ll sit down with you for 1 hour for free!

Michael and his team helped with my nomination campaign for Canadian Senate, their knowledge of how to use social media in politics is impressive. They are well organized, responsive and made understanding how to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter easy and fun. I could always count on them to be up-to-speed on the latest social media trends, and give me the information I needed in laymen’s terms. I highly recommend their work.” - Scott Tannas, Canadian Senator from Alberta
“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing and working with Michael since 2003. He is Reliable, Innovative and an Out-of-the-box thinker. His knowledge of how to use social media is impressive – he has made me a believer in social media.” - Alan Nakanishi, former California State Assemblymember
“Interstate PR (ROICOM Consulting, LLC) is well organized and had great ideas on how to take things to the next level. I was able to get a hold of them at anytime to discuss my needs and concerns. The gave me the personal attention that many larger firms don’t have the time or resources to give. Their rates were reasonable and the developed a package that fit my needs.” - Mark Packard, Carlsbad City Councilmember
“We hired Interstate PR (ROICOM) to help us establish and initially maintain our social media program and presence. They helped our social media grow, and gave us valuable insight and knowledge making the process easy and very understandable. They helped us established a relationship with the military to develop an outreach program for us to honor our brave troops and their families. Their efforts have helped us reach a new level of success.” - Wally Schlotter, UltraStar Cinemas