I had a consultation with a small business owner who was looking for advice on reaching his market through social media. A trusted colleague had advised him to “find a kid 18 – 22 years old” to manage it.
I suppressed a groan as I explained that unless the “kid” was a marketing professional that could develop strategies aligned with his business goals it was not a good idea.
Smart business professionals are willing to turn over mission critical business tasks to those they assume know more than they do. Expertise does not have an age limit, but age alone is not a qualification.
There is a huge difference between having knowledge of social media tools and having the knowledge on how to implement those tools in business strategy. This is true whether you are 15 or 45. Business development, ROI, governance, engagement and communications strategies are essential to effectively deploying social media marketing for your brand.
This particular company has much to lose. Launching a half-baked strategy could damage their brand in an industry that has a long memory. Their target market demands credible professionals who are knowledgeable about solutions and truly engaged in their causes.
I can understand the confusion about the value of social media. When discussed in the mainstream it is presented as a frivolous entertainment tool rather than a business tool that can be used for brand building, and customer support.
However, a lack of knowledge is not an excuse for mismanaging the effort by failing to get educated on how it can be used. Social media platforms may be the shiny new tools in the toolbox but the building process has not changed. There is no need to be so intimidated by the technology that you fail to apply good old fashioned business sense.
Facebook may have Farmville but using it as a business tool is definitely not kid stuff.
How do you manage the knowledge gaps in your business? Have you ever outsourced something that you did not understand? What were the results?
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