Business is business is business…

I know everyone is all aflutter about “social media”…by the way please try to define this term or ask 15 people to define it and you will quickly determine a problem…and the fact that it is a “game changer” for business.  I say those people could not be more WRONG!  I have spent the past few weeks seeking out many people who work in this space and the majority of my conversations all seem to converge into the following points:

  • Linkedin, facebook, twitter, myspace, etc. are all great tools and vehicles for communicating to your customers, friends, college roommates, competition, and provide you a tremendous opportunity to network (please read the next point carefully)
  • BUT, if you were not prone to this level of communication with any of those groups, then it is not something you will be all that excited about!  For example, if it took you 3-5 days to respond to an email, you will HATE the speed (and frequency) of communication of twitter.  These tools are being adopted and leveraged by people/organizations/ for whom they were a natural extension of their core competencies.
  • IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!  Almost to a person, they all agreed that all people/organizations should not dive into the social media pool head first just because it is the latest “way to make a quick buck”.  It should be a thoughtful decision that aligns and supports the overall business strategy.
  • If done poorly, it can have tremendous negative consequences.  This is where you really need to be careful because engaging in social media without a true understanding of the expectations of your audience can be devastating.  This is not about putting up a profile and checking it every 2-3 weeks or thinking that once you put one up on a site, business will start rolling in.  This is about authenticity and transparency.  This is about access on a personal level and the willingness to engage with others (warts & all).  If this does not seem like something that fits into your plan, you might want to think it over.
  • The final point came up in only one conversation but I thought it was very interesting.  One of the reasons that social media is getting such play may be because its “tipping point” coincided with the economic downturn and everyone began looking for lower cost methods to market.  Interesting thought…

As support for this idea, look at the chart below from a poll from Entrepreneur magazine.  Again, it does not mean there is no value in these tools/mediums.  I believe they will eventually be seen as part of the overall communication strategy for organizations and be leveraged accordingly.

Which of the following forms of social media has generated the most sales for your business?

I’ve never made a sale from any of these sites. 72.22%
LinkedIn 8.64%
Twitter 7.41%
Facebook 7.41%
YouTube 4.32%

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Filed under Marketing, Small(er) Business, Social Media, Strategy

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