I have been often hearing people asking this question, “Why should I use social media?” This reminded me the time, 5 years after the Internet boom, where everyone were asking “Why must I own a web site?” This also brought me back to an old question “Why should I email you when I could just affix a stamp and mail it out? OK, maybe no one remembers the old email address question, but I heard that when email was first introduced, most people were appalled with the idea of using email instead of traditional mailing and saw it as troublesome and insecure.
This is how I will explain to people who are not convinced with the idea of them or their company should be using social media for business. Hopefully, this provide valuable information to individuals in the position of persuading the decision makers who are ignoring social media outright and view it as a fad.
These 2 points might seem a little simple but it’s meant to illustrate that when using social media tools and strategies, you must:
- Engage with a deeper understanding of your business goals; and
- Integrate them as part of the overall marketing strategy.
You may want to tell them that “Social media is not a silver bullet.” Do advise them on not to look at social media or any set of marketing tools or tactics as the only stategy that will propel them toward business victory. That’s reckless. Worst still, if they preferred putting their heads in the sand hoping this social media “trend” will soon go away. They are absolutely wrong and will put them at a disadvantage, especially if they don’t at least try to understand what social media is and what it could potentially benefit their business.
Most of us who engage in social media understand that its primary purpose is about constant interactions and participation with users actively online so as to develop trustworthy relationships and closer bondings. So if an individual isn’t prepared to engage carefully, frequently and building bonding with one’s customers or potential customers, then jumping straight into social media is definitely not a wise business move. We need to educate them on this view without them feeling afraid and troublesome. Being different can be scary at times, and social media is extremely unique from what majority traditional marketers are doing, so it’s all up to us to shine some light down that black hole of the unknown.
Not every person who is dragging their feet on social media is being difficult. Try to show them why they’re avoiding it. Is it an emotional reaction uncalled for or a reasonable decision based on the inadequate understanding of social media?
If you’ve ever been at the frontier of accepting new technology, you’ll know that there’s a benefit to waiting out something new: You can pick up from other people’s mistakes and avoid making it. The disadvantage of putting something like social media on the last priority is that your clients will definitely miss out on first-mover advantages and they may lose a large share of the market to companies that understand presently consumer is empowered through social media.
If they are not willing to interact with their customers in modern ways, those customers may turn to companies that have a presence online where they are able to communicate (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter). They will look for companies that are more willing to listen, respond, engage, interact and respect them.
Now I have described the importance, benefits and risks of engaging in social media. The choice is up to you whether to communicate this effectively to them. Social media isn’t about hype and hyperbole. It’s all about making sound and logical business decisions to identify market and its marketing channels and to adapt accordingly in order to stay ahead of competitors.
So are you ready to engage on social media and take the first lead for your company? You shall decide.
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