Social Media is Like Getting a Tattoo on Your Face

flickr: meddygarnet

One of my favorite lines from the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” is from Liz Gilbert’s best friend Delia Shiraz (played by Viola Davis). When Gilbert seems to be considering having a baby to help save her marriage, Shiraz tells her, “Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You want to be committed.”

When I heard that line, I immediately thought about social media strategy and what clients must consider before undertaking a blog, a Twitter account or even a Facebook page.

I have devoted several blog posts and an issue of our newsletter to helping hospital marketing managers convince their CEOs to consider adopting social media strategies. However, I haven’t addressed the problem some marketing managers face when their CEO walks in their office and says, “We need a ______________” (Twitter account, Facebook Fan page….fill in the blank with any shiny new social media tool).

There are two issues with this situation.

First, strategy should lead the decision on what tool to use, not the other way around. What do you want to achieve and what tool will help you achieve that?

Second, you need to take stock of what resources (including time and personnel) adopting this tool will take. Jumping into social media, and then pulling back when you realize you don’t have the time or staff, erodes your organization’s credibility.

To build momentum, a social media strategy must be planned for the long-term … it’s like getting a tattoo on your face. It requires commitment.

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