Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why You Still Don't *Get* Social Media

There is, as I always say, a *lot* of confusion in Social Media, much of which breaks down into a few obvious categories:

1) Companies that don't understand Social Media at all and act like it's a new advertising channel.

2) Professionals that don't get Social Media and sell it like it's a new advertising channel.

3) Individuals that think Social Media is a meaningless buzzword and it's *all* confusing.

If you are one of the many people who feel like the whole Social Media thing is just...a confusing mess, then today's post is for you.

In fact, today's post is for a specific person. He's someone I know and like. He's the regional director of a large manufacturing firm. He's very smart and very successful and has a wonderful family. And he doesn't get Social Media - any of it - at all.

There are a number of excellent reasons for this. Here's the most important one:

He doesn't need Social Media.

He calls his friends. He emails his clients. He sees his family for dinner. He is the successful regional director for a large manufacturing firm and is not involved in marketing or sales. Or promotion. Or communications.

In fact, there is no reason at all for him to learn something new. He has an admin at work and kids at home. It's not critical for him to be on Facebook and see what junky stuff his friends waste time with, and Twitter is too much of stuff he doesn't care about.

My friend is not the only one who doesn't need to understand Social Media. If you are selling high-end art, for instance; Dealers, Gallery Owners, Agents, Museum Buyers *might* be amenable to a text, but you can bet that they're not playing Farmville with you.

You have to be where your audience is, where your peers are, where the people who care about what you have to say and who are saying what you have to care about, are.

Here's what you can get from Social Media even if you don't *get* Social Media:

1) News - Trade journals, professional associations, analysts can all be found on various Social Media platforms. Instead of writing a letter to the editor, your comment can be transmitted (and hopefully received, read and replied to) instantaneously.

2) Peers and Vendors - You attend trade shows to connect with peers and vendors. You can connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, etc, and have faster access to business critical information.

3) Competitors - Same as above. I dealt with this in my post about Social Media for Competitive Intelligence. The information is out there, and all you have to do to find it is follow.

4) Customers/clients - People want to know they can reach you for an answer. The great thing about Social Media is that you *can* walk away at any time. Turn off the computer, put down the phone. It's not (yet) embedded in directly your brain, so it doesn't have to take over your life...unless you want it to.

5) Friends and Family - Okay, maybe you *don't* want to know what your kids are up to, but maybe it is time to contact that cousin you never see. Social Media is a great, non-committal way to keep in touch without keeping in touch.

If you don't need any of these things, then you definitely don't need Social Media. Don't worry that you don't get it. It's not for you.
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