If you look directly into the sun without proper eye protection, for an extended period of time, you will go blind; The high radiation levels being emitted from the sun will burn your retina and you won’t feel a thing (your retina doesn’t sense pain, only light.)
In order to keep this from happening, the rule of thumb is not to look at the sun at all without protection. Even though you could probably get away with it for a second or two, it’s just not worth the risk.
How does this apply to Social Media? With companies around every corner offering solutions from social media press kits to bulk social friending, it’s easy to get mislead and confused, only to find yourself a few months later a couple grand shy with a suspended Facebook account.
Now, before the aforementioned horror story even has the opportunity to rear it’s head, you need to ask yourself the following question: “How do I protect my social retina from getting burnt?”
It all starts with eye protection. There are two main parts to each pair of glasses:
The Lenses: Knowing what to look for
The first thing you need to determine is exactly what your goal is. Why are you getting into social media and how will it benefit your company in the long run?
A few common goals include, but are not limited to – product promotion, brand influence, and customer loyalty and support.
Now that you have your basic goal in place, it’s time for some research. Since social media is all about connecting with people and spreading the word, you will need to determine which demographic is best to target, and research into what social media platforms will best reach that audience.
Here’s an infographic that will help you identify the best social sites to use.
The Frame: Developing an effective strategy
At this point your have your goal clear and an idea of the sites that will need to be included in your campaign (your already ahead of the crowd, congratulations!).
The next thing you will need to decide is how to connect with your targeted demographic. Are you going to spam them with friend requests, coerce them to “like” your social page through the promotion of your current customer base, or are you planning something completely unique?
I would suggest researching your customer based communities for a little while before you decide on the previous step. Once you have a clear idea of how your customers like to be “reached” you will know how to impact them. You don’t want to come across as too forthright or spammy, connecting with your customers in a social way is all about reaching them on their playing field, not yours.
Looking at the sun
Now that you have some basic strategies to follow when tackling social media, you can start on your campaigns without worrying about damaging your reputation, or worse. No longer do you rely on the sales pitch and strategies of a stranger. You can use your own eyes through knowledge to guide you.
Jack M. Napier