Early in my reporting career, I wrote a story about Christmas Eve at a big shopping mall. As the clock ticked toward midnight, last-minute shoppers were shelling out big bucks for just about anything — as long as it could be shoved in a box and gift wrapped.
In the shoe store, one man grabbed a pair of fuzzy pink slippers and asked the clerk to wrap them.
“Are you sure they’re your wife’s size?” she asked kindly. The box said Size 13.
The guy shrugged.
“Hey, it’s a Christmas present — I’m desperate,” he said.
It doesn’t take once-a-year holiday shopping to bring out this sort of irrational thinking in people. In fact, I see it at least once a week when a business owner calls me (or a colleague) and wants to know how much we charge for “the social media package.”
When I ask them questions like:
- What social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs) do your customers and prospects use?
- What social media activities do your competitors engage in?
- What resources (staff or contracted) are you willing to devote to using social media tools?
the usual response is a short silence, followed by the admission that they really have no idea. Can’t you just give me one of those social media package things and be done with it? they wonder.
At that point, I strongly recommend that they hire me, or another consultant, to do a basic social media audit to help them answer the three questions above. It’s not cheap, but at least the social media strategy they subsequently select and implement will be a successful one.
They’ll get the right size, at the right price. And trust me — they’ll find out they can do a lot better than fuzzy pink slippers.