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"I Hate Social Media"


I heard the quote in the title above recently from a friend of mine over dinner, and it surprised me.


As someone who loves this stuff, I was intrigued by this statement, and I asked my friend, “Why is that?”


His answer was simple.  He said that he didn’t care about keeping up with people from high school on Facebook, or about what’s going on in their lives.  He mentioned that it seemed false to him.


This response made it abundantly clear that he didn’t understand what social media really encompasses.  Sadly, this is a not uncommon reaction to this still-somewhat-fledgling method of marketing and promotion.


So, what is social media, anyway?


 


Is it Facebook?  Twitter?  Blogging?  Posterous?  ActiveRain?  YouTube?


Sure it is.  It’s all of these platforms and many more.


Here’s a quick definition that I developed for my own use:



Social media means using online video, photo, and writing tools (most of which are free) to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones.  This can be used for purely social purposes, or to promote yourself or your brand.  As a result, almost anything that you can do in the world of face-to-face networking can now be accomplished online.  The operative word there is “almost”.  :)



Every business can benefit from the proper use and implementation of social media tools.  Yes, EVERY business.  Even B2B sales are conducted by….people.


If you’re doing things right, you can give your prospects a 3-dimensional view of yourself and/or your business.  What sets you apart?  What stories can you share?  I am amazed at which of my blog posts have brought me real-world dollars over the years.  Sometimes, it’s a post about funny things my kids said.  Once, it was a post about my church.


I’m not so naive that I assume that all consumers want to hear my life story, but those who are active in social media just might.


We’ve probably all heard this sage advice at some point:  “Go where your customers are.”  With over 500 million users on Facebook (1/2 of whom log on daily), and 300 million registered on Twitter now, clearly there are a few customers there, huh?


YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google.  You might have known that already, but did you know that more and more people are spending time online watching videos rather than watching actual television sets?


I think it’s easy to discount those things we don’t understand. Social media seems to fall into this category pretty often.


Traditional thinking would dictate that if a marketing method is free, it probably won’t work.  Traditional thinking probably would have kept us from going to the moon in 1969, or from developing vaccines, or starting the internet in the first place.  I promise you that you don’t want to be thinking like the crowd if you want to make an impact on the world.


The “you get what you pay for” maxim doesn’t apply here.  However, you do need to invest your time to make it work.


I’m still exploring the world of social media, which is ever-changing.  As a word of advice, don’t hate or disparage things that you don’t understand.  No progress and few successes were ever accomplished as the result of having a closed mind.


I realize that if you’re reading this, you are likely already a “convert” to the social media realm.  Either way, I thought this was a topic worth discussing.


What are you thoughts?


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/2191404675/


Originally posted at 210 Consulting blog.


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