More and more people are experimenting with social media. I say ‘experimenting’ as all too often there is no real strategy behind the activity. Many accountants, for example, simply buy into the ‘hope’ that their social media activity will lead to more clients. It’s rarely as simple as that.

Whatever you might have heard about social media the same principles apply as to any other new business related activity you might wish to explore. You first need to determine WHY you want to do this. Only then do you need to start working out HOW to do so.

Imagine you were thinking about adopting a new online accounting system in the cloud for instance. Before spending time finding out how to use any of the key options you would first have to decide WHY the idea was of interest and how it might benefit your practice. Think of all the questions you would have.   Only after you understand what the benefits would be, the costs and consequences can you weigh these up and make a considered decision.

It’s the same with social media. Except that many people assume that the answer to the WHY question is that social media opens up new marketing channels. Whilst this is true it is is NOT a new ‘broadcast’ channel and it take more time and effort to get the desired returns than many users had expected. There are plenty of social media and marketing ‘experts’ who can help you. Sadly many of them focus on the HOW without helping you first to understand the WHY. If you did you might choose not to explore it further, not at this time anyway.

Or is there another view? Sticking with the analogy I drew earlier; Might you simply decide that online accounting in the cloud is the way of the future?The WHY is answered simply by your desire to stay ahead of the game.  And if that’s the way you operate then you might just as easily decide that you have to start getting involved in social media. If this is your normal way of operating, the WHY is very simple.   And that then just leaves the HOW.

Are you someone who knows WHY you choose to try new things before you learn HOW to do them? Or do you play around with new things and hope that you’ll work out a good strategic reason afterwards, if you enjoy them enough?

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