I love talking on the phone with current and potential clients to get a sense of their comfort levels with social media. People new to it are very nervous that their company may not be portrayed in the best light out in the Badlands of the Internet. Odds are, it’s already happening — they just don’t know it.
At the very least, a good appetizer is to set up some form of monitoring service for a few weeks and show them what is being said, where and by whom. If they find that agreeable, then the next course might be to help them set up their own profiles and establish a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn (two definites in my opinion) and — maybe — Facebook, depending on their commitment level.
I think one of the most important questions to ask a client is: “Are you all on board with this?” From the top down, what does the company expect from its employees when engaging in social media? How much autonomy do they have? Is there a community evangelist that will become the company’s voice?
A lot of newcomers know that they need to get on board the social media train, but aren’t sure what ticket they should buy or how far they are going to travel. I hate to see comments on Twitter such as, “LOL, this n00b is talking about social media as the hot new thing and he’s only been on three weeks!” To me, that says more about the poster of the comment than the newcomer.
Social media is not an overnight thing. It may take weeks of monitoring before someone really feels comfortable enough to take those first steps. Like any new movement, there will be those who dive in head first and those who prefer to watch from the sidelines for a while.
And you know what? That’s great! It is what you make it.
~ John Carson, Consultant (Twitter: johncarson)