It Just Has to Work

Sep 02, 2011
Dan Christ

A friend of a friend called the other day and asked me to lunch.

“I’m in town next week. Can I buy you lunch and pick your brain about how I can use social media for my business?”

After making sure he knew that a lunch meeting spent picking my brain might not last past a cup of clam chowder, I agreed.

We had met a couple of months earlier, and during the meeting eventually got around to discussing my work at The Patriot-News as its Director of Audience Engagement. He believed he could use social media to promote his business. I agreed, and he said he’d give me a call.

I didn’t expect the phone to ring.

It rang.

So on a dreary summer day, we sat down over a couple of wraps in a downtown restaurant to plot his social media strategy. Here’s how it started:

Him: “What about Twitter? Can I use Twitter to promote my business?”

Me: “Sure you can. I love Twitter. It’s my social media drug of choice. When done well, Twitter is a conversation between two people. It’s immediate, and requires an investment of time and energy to do well.”

Him: “I don’t have time for one-on-one conversations.”

Me: “Then Twitter isn’t for you.”

And on it went.

We tossed around a couple ideas.  By the end of the conversation, he decided to commit to writing a blog post a week, then use that content to establish himself as a subject matter expert to draw more customers to his business. It’s a simple strategy; nothing new, but effective.

We may not have reinvented the wheel over a couple of chicken salad wraps, but we also didn’t overcommit a business owner to channels and tools he won’t use. We left all the shiny new toys on the shelf and focused instead on a strategy he believes in and can execute.

He got a social media strategy that will work, and I got peace of mind in knowing that the success of his strategy is going to be based on how effectively he executes it instead of whether or not he’s willing to respond to a tweet at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

When it just has to work, social media really can be all that and a ham sandwich provided you’re realistic about your goals and resource commitment. Anything more, and you definitely won’t get the bag of chips.

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