What gets your attention faster: a faucet with a slow leak or a busted pipe that causes a flood? The flood, of course. Does that mean the slow leak is any less of a threat? Nope. In fact, it’s the slow leak that’s often the most perilous. If the squeaky wheel gets the oil, the slow leak gets ignored.
I’m willing to gamble that right now you have a slow leak in your business and odds are you won’t address it until there’s a flood. Slow leaks cost more over time; a cost most businesses can’t afford to absorb. If we take G.I. Joe’s approach, then, “Knowing is half the battle.” So, the first order of business is to determine the source of your slow leak.
Here are some circumstances that might reflect what’s happening in your business:
The leak is rooted in the time you loose insisting that social media have a definite return on investment (ROI) before your firm outlines its social media initiative. Drip.
It’s in the hours and days that are lost when you allow your legal team to dominate the conversation about social media. Drip.
It’s the sales you lose when a customer sends a pre-sales inquiry to your info@email address that isn’t manned by anyone. Drip.
The leak is the business opportunity you lost because your customers are complaining about your brand online and no one on your team is paying attention. Drip.
It’s the blog comment that goes unaddressed. Drip.
In short, your business’ use of social media, or lack thereof, is your slow leak (you may have more “leaks” in your business). Not to worry if you see your company in any of the above scenarios; you’re not alone. They are some of the most common situations clients present when they’re looking to work with us and thankfully there are solutions. The upside to a slow leak is that you have a bit of time to fix it before there’s a flood.
1. Step away from the business and take a long, hard, honest look. The key here is to be honest. If you don’t, you’re not fooling anyone and you're crippling yourself.
2. Jot down all the places where you think your company is dropping the ball with online marketing. Please note, at this point you needn’t be 100 percent correct, you simply need a list from which you can start your investigation.
3. Run your list past a trusted source in your organization.
4. Develop an action plan to plug or repair those slow leaks, starting with the leaks that are impacting your company the most.
For example, it has been my experience that when a company has an intense focus on ROI, it’s usually some form of a stall tactic. The company doesn’t have the information they need to make a proper, informed decision and instead of recognizing this, the tendency is to attempt to apply a means of measurement that doesn’t fit.
In other instances, a company’s legal team won’t sign-off on social media use. I am an absolute believer in having the best legal team you can afford and once they are in place, it is their job to protect the business -- even if that means protecting the business from itself. The flip side of the coin is that sometimes your legal team can gum up the works a bit. They don’t mean to, but it happens.
When our clients have these challenges, what’s worked for us is to sit down with the firm’s legal professionals and ask them exactly what their objections are and put those items into a list. Then one-by-one go down the list and address each concern to legal’s satisfaction.
This process plugs the “legal leak” because it gives legal an opportunity to express their concerns completely. In this way, their apprehensions can be addressed respectfully and thoroughly. At risk of sounding corny, everyone wins.
Most of the leaks in your company’s social media approach can be fixed permanently, not just patched, if time is taken to recognize the leaks and determine what’s required to fix it.