I’ve had to abort plans for two new Social Media Surgeries recently because other people got cold feet about being able to attract sufficient numbers of participants.
Now, while I wholeheartedly agree that it makes no sense to take up time and resources if no one is going to come, and I have cancelled a session myself in the past because of this, I also think that this is an activity where waiting for the perfect moment is counter-productive. My experience with Leeds Social Media Surgery, for instance, is that, even though we started there with quite low numbers, the Surgery has built its own momentum.
Going ahead and launching a surgery works so much better than waiting for the perfect moment for two reasons:
1. It gives you stories to tell. Even though you might only have a few takers at first, every episode of assistance at a Social Media Surgery is a story in itself. Surgery organisers can tell these stories as examples of the benefits people get out of attendance, and this is great publicity in the local area.
2. It builds word of mouth We have found in Leeds, as elsewhere, that people are now coming to the Surgery because they know someone else who has attended and got something positive out of it. This is a very important factor when many of the people we are trying to reach with Social Media Surgeries are (a) not necessarily online that much, and therefore relatively immune to online marketing; and (b) nervous about social media use, and thus more likely to take the next steps if they know someone else who has done the same thing.
So, if you’re thinking of starting a Social Media Surgery, I’d say, “do it!”. There may never be a perfect moment, and a slow start is better than no start at all.
Oh, and if you do start a Surgery, don’t forget to register it here http://www.socialmediasurgery.com