Here are 3 questions you need to answer before jumping in to social media.
1. How does this support your business?
Most people start social media because they hear about it on TV, read about it in the news and hear from others that "it's a great way to market your business".
But most don't understand why they're doing it, or what to expect from it.
They can't define what success will look like before they begin.
That's a big problem. You don't need to know the ROI. But you do need to understand how it's going to either (1) increase revenue, (2) decrease costs, or (3) increase customer support.
So figure out your social media goals before jumping in head-first. Then when you understand it, you'll appreciate it more and invest more time and effort.
2. Are your expectations realistic?
Being successful in social media is extremely difficult.
It's a 24/7 job, constantly evolving, So you need to have realistic expectations.
Not only in terms of success (see #1 above). But also what it's going to take to succeed.
Because it may be inexpensive, but it takes a ton of effort and time. So if you don't have the energy, or can't hire people to take control, then don't even start.
For example, you can't hire blog writters for $10 per article and expect it to drive business and build an audience.
And you can't launch a new website, and expect SEO traffic to flood your website the next day.
Inbound marketing tactics like social media and content marketing can drastically improve your marketing ROI.
But they're difficult, time consuming, and long-term tactics. You need to be willing to work for the long-term payoff if you want social media to build your business.
3. Why should your target customers care?
Finally, why should your customers read your blog posts, "Like" your Facebook page, or interact with you online?
The key to social media is engagement. Because without it, people won't stick around any buy something.
And people don't interact with you because you're awesome. They do it because it benefits them.
Maybe it makes them laugh, cry, or shocks them into taking action.
Either way, it's not about you. To succeed in social media, you need to be laser-focused on your audience and their needs, wants and desires.
For example, just because you're in a "boring industry" doesn't mean people won't read your blog posts or follow you on Twitter. You just need to focus on what your product or services does for them, and come up with blog contest ideas around that.
Because if you want people to interact, then you need to get them to care. This isn't easy. You need to engage them, watch what they respond to, and be ready to experiment.
And if you're not ready to embrace that, then you're probably better off not wasting your time at all.