Not Using Social Media Is Like Only Having a Typewriter

June 24, 2011

in Business

typewriter

Are You Still In The Dark Ages?

There is a lot of information out there about social media. Is it a phenomenon? A fad? A trend? A viable tool?

No matter which camp you are in, we must accept the fact that social media is now a normal part of our lives.

Whether it is a necessity in some settings (like being able to check Facebook from your car dash) is a whole other blog to be posted.

Change is not easy. Humans like routine, and when we have found that comfortable setting, getting us to shift our perspective, let alone to try something new can be met with lots of resistence.

Social media continues to expand, and for businesses not to incorporate it in their daily operations is in danger of going by the way of the emu. There is no mistaking the impact of social media in business. Retailers, service providers, and corporations have quickly adopted Facebook and Twitter (for starters) widgets and logos in their print and online media. TV ads for products tell you to find them on “Facebook”, and celebrities Tweet their off-the-wall statements and opinions, which immediately get re-Tweeted, blogged, and exposéd.

Businesses that resist or don’t think they need a social media presence is like trying to create a PowerPoint presentation using a typewriter and liquid paper. It just won’t work. Skeptics: be aware that it is no longer about finding long-lost buddies, old flames, and college roomies. For your business to get any notice or play (forget about ranking or analytics for the moment), you have to get on board with social media.

Like the die-hard typewriter user, getting your work done with an old IBM Selectric will get the job done – but you will be left behind by the whiz kids of the app and iPad(TM) age.

1. Social media is not a fad – it’s become a necessary tool for business. It’s the way people are connecting with prospects, customers, and loyal fans. Most people will Google or Yelp a business before they buy or dine. If you don’t have a social media presence, you will likely not be found.

2. Business is evolving rapidly – Once upon a time, there were mom & pop stores. Then came big corporations. As the world grows smaller, businesses are no longer as static as they used to be. Companies are extending their reach all over the globe, employees are more mobile, and with a slumped economy, entrepreneurs are increasingly making an entrance into the marketplace. Some industries are dying a slow death as manufacturers go overseas, and American plants close down. Social media has been the way for companies and businesses to keep trending in order to stay alive and fresh.

3. Instant messaging – Messages are being transmitted precisely when it occurs. The phrase, “The shot heard around the world” made famous by Emerson’s poem, ain’t got nothing on the faster-than-lightning speed in which news and information travels today. Significant news is transmitted on RSS feeds and Tweets sometimes long before the “breaking news” comes on the TV or radio. With the constant stream of information, businesses that are on board with social media are at a greater advantage than their counterparts that are not.

4. Competition is fierce. Sometimes the turtle does not win. Bottom line is that a company is in business to make money. If it does not position itself to compete, it will likely lose the race.

5. An online presence is becoming more and more normal. You will be lost in the shuffle if your presence doesn’t remain on top. A business can not hope to even join the fray without a social media strategy in place. A company’s reputation can be made (or broken) without an intelligent way to transmit its message. Savvy use of social media is at the heart of it.

Like it or not, social media is here to stay.

Creative Commons License photo credit: bethanylynphotography

AllieRambles June 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Donina,

This sends it home. I love your analogy!

When I began to blog I didn’t quite ignore social media but I neglected it. I heard bloggers say how important twitter was to blog traffic or Facebook to blog affiliate sales. I didn’t understand. I do know now. After a while and some followers and some trial and error and some interactions, I realized how important social media is to marketing your business online. My business is online. But I have seen local restaurants and stores do well by keeping up with their patrons with SM. The customers think it is fun.

Nice article!

~Allie

Heraldm June 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Enjoyed your article Donina – I absolutely buy into the validity of social marketing … just haven’t quite found my comfort zone as far as balancing it all. It feels a bit like golf – you work hard to get your short game right and the long game starts to suck. I just feel like I’m getting Facebook under control, and Linkedin sucks. I guess the answer is to just keep working at it. Thanks for the inspiration!

debkrier June 30, 2011 at 10:33 am

Great post and great comments! I’m still amazed when a business owner tells me that social media is a waste of time. I’m also amazed when individuals don’t realize the importance of using it – especially entrepreneurs and those looking for a new job. Whenever I’m meeting someone new for the first time, I look them up on LinkedIn then Google their name. It’s a great way for me to get a “first impression” of them. Unfortunately, too often I find outdated material and posts that make them seem very unprofessional.

onhighheelsprez June 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

@Tia Peterson I think some creativity can be employed when it comes to social media. Of course, the use of social media, and which social media platform must make sense for the type of business. For example, a local notary public could blog about the real estate business or tax planning business for which he/she notarizes. As for the GYN – well…. LOL! I think one could tie in women’s health tips on a FB fan page, but not advertise as a GYN, but a women’s health advocate. So many possibilities… I think that social media will continue to evolve, and more businesses may have to consider how to strategically implement some form of it in their business. Thanks, Tia. Keep me challenged!

onhighheelsprez June 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

@MorganBarnhart @Tia Peterson I definitely agree that one has to carefully consider which social media platform would benefit her business. Morgan, LOL on the bankruptcy firm having people ‘Like” their FB page. As in anything, there must be common sense, along with the use of planning and strategy. Social media should be a facet of your business. Only relying on social media to communicate and sell without having a heart and face behind it would be a disservice to your business and to your customers. Love both your points and perspectives. Thanks, Tia and Morgan!

onhighheelsprez June 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

@MorganBarnhart @Tia Peterson I definitely agree that one has to carefully consider which social media platform would benefit her business. Morgan, LOL on the bankruptcy firm having people ‘Like” their FB page. As in anything, there must be common sense, along with the use of planning and strategy. Social media should be a facet of your business. Only relying on social media to communicate and sell without having a heart and face behind it would be a disservice to your business and to your customers. Love both your points and perspectives. Thanks, Tia and Morgan!

MorganBarnhart June 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

and wow, I failed when it came to grammar and spelling in this post. lol

MorganBarnhart June 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

@Tia Peterson This is basically the post I was going to write. =)You make some great points, Donina, but we also must consider what platforms in social media to use for each specific field. As Tia pointed out, not everyone is going to need a Twitter or a Facebook page. Sometimes just having a website is good enough. Not every single business will need to be involved in social media.

Like, for instance, a bankruptcy firm should not be on Facebook. Who in the world would want to ‘like’ their bankruptcy firm and make it known to all their Facebook friends that they;re thinking about bankruptcy?

Things like that need to be considered. Just because social media is a great means of communication, doesn’t mean every business needs to take advantage of it.

I’m ALL FOR social media and a huge advocate of it, it’s even my career, but that doesn’t mean everyone should use it. We must pick and choose the right platforms for their needs.

Social media is going to have to stick around for at least a decade for people to fully understand that it’s not going anywhere. Just like with anything, change is scary and people will adapt, it’ll just take time.

Great pice!

Tia Peterson June 27, 2011 at 11:26 pm

@KimberlyMoore LOL (chanting) “DO IT. DO IT.”

KimberlyMoore June 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm

What a great article and so very very true! I also agree with Tia – businesses need to be discriminating but as far as the cat’s vet – oh I would love to tweet that one! LOL

Tia Peterson June 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I think the harder thing to do is figure out *how* to make social media work for some companies. For most industries, social media is a complete no-brainer. For others, you really do have to ask the question, does it matter?

1. Does it matter for your GYN? I mean, seriously is their presence in social media going to make a difference?

2. What about the local notary public?

3. Or your cat’s vet?

This is a trick comment. In each of those industries, social media is STILL useful. :) Because social media is about spreading information. Anything interesting, entertaining, informative, good, enticing, etc. is going to spread. Maybe I won’t actively seek out a GYN on Facebook. However, if I go looking for a new GYN on Google, find a website, and see that they have a Facebook presence, I am absolutely going to check them out.

It’s the same with the others.

Good post, Donina. I unfortunately think it’s still something we’re going to have to convince people about for the next few years.

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