As well as the work I do in the area of Social Media strategy and content, I have another gig as an Early Childhood Facilitator. I’ve worked in education for twenty years in one way of the other. The two are very different markets- with little cross over. Forget getting a centre onto twitter or facebook- it’s still a relatively new thing to find a centre who knows whether they have a website or even an email address!
One of my agents still finds one of the best ways to market for my seminars if via fax machine. I prefer to use email, but often have to email individual teachers who have attended a conference I’ve spoken at, rather than a centre owner sitting in an office somewhere. I tihnk we can safely say Early childhood teachers as a whole don’t tend to be early adopters when it comes to social media!
Of course some centres have got it going on when it comes to social media and electronic comms. Maria Salt, a centre owner at Natural Steps in Ellerslie uses facebook to recruit staff, and is pretty much IPhone dependant on communicating with parents and staff. Her staff use IPads with the children as well- though they probably are not facebooking or tweeting, they certainly will be checking out youtube!
The issue I have with alot of social media stragetists is the “one size fits all” approach to getting businesses and sectors onto facebook, twitter and other social media platforms. If your audience is not there, what is the point? For me, while I do tweet and facebook my blog links, I know I still get much of my leads from organic google searches, and old fashioned word of mouth.
I still advise my social media clients to be on social media platforms regardless to that however. Why? Well there are many reasons but here are a few:
1. In case of a media storm- you own the brand, you own the name and it’s there just in case. If someone wants to use it to talk to you, they can. It doesn’t have to be incredibly active, depending on your current core needs and focus. The news this week of Netflix’s muck up with its new brand name shows how important it is to “park” the name.
2. You can use twitter for lists and create news, politics, sector news and other columns on a platform such as tweetdeck to speed up morning news feeds and reading. Favourite the ones you want to take a note of and you’ve got a far more focussed early morning catch up than going to each website. Also other people will often research and find links you don’t have time to- find those people and follow them and you’ve got them helping you out indirectly
3. It’s a good place to get a feel of the big wide world out there- it’s easy to become polarised in your sector and it’s a great way to get a sense of what else is out there.
4. It’s a great “lazyweb” way to find recommendations for service providers- or to recommend yourself as a sutable service provider.
5. Use it to just let off a wee bit of steam. Busy business owners of small businesses can find it isolating. You might not be in the same business as a fellow tweeter or facebooker or googlepluser… but you can share mutual frustrations and ideas that are not industry specific.
Social media isn’t just about getting your brand message out there. There are many purposes beyond the obvious that increase the value of the time it takes to get started.