Demystifying Social Media

I love social media. I am not a “guru”. I respect those industry leaders who are deeply into the strategic application of social media, yet I think those who label themselves as gurus are largely full of crap. Though as I already said I am not a guru, I do however have better social media skills than the average bear, and combined with a fair knowledge of business strategy, I can be dangerous. And I always am up for learning more.

I was nervous about entering the social media world 5-6 years ago. I carried several unfounded fears—ones which “older marketers” (alas that’s me) carried around at that time:

1. It’s just for college kids

2. It’s a fad (I said that one about personal computers: oops wrong)

3. I don’t want anyone to know too much about me

4. It’s a superficial waste of time with no business application

5. It’ll consume lots of my time if I jump in (this one may have been directionally correct—but it’s self-inflicted)

But my fear of becoming a marketing dinosaur, Fear of Failure, pushed me into learning more. I jumped into LinkedIn and Facebook first, and then Twitter and others subsequently.  I thought deeply about not just the logistics of each platform but how it can be a powerful marketing tool for my clients. Not every tool is relevant in every business situation.

Here’s what I realized. Social media is merely a better way of doing many of the activities once used to do the “old fashioned way”. Technology now facilitates and accelerates the behavior we all have. Take LinkedIn for example. I assume almost all readers of this have a LinkedIn account. (Shame on you if you don’t—a subject for a different conversation).

Simply what does LinkedIn allow you to do? Know who your contacts know. In any business /social event when you meet someone what do you invariably say. “Oh do you know so and so” trying to pice together their background with your knowledge. LinkedIn does this for you—it’s like networking on PEDs.

What does Facebook do? It reminds me of the “Going steady” song in Bye Bye Birdie “What’s the story morning glory? What’s the word hummingbird? Did you hear about Hugo & Kim?” (now I am really showing my age) where the multitude of teens quickly learned telephonically the important info about Hugo & Kim.

So for those of you who have #socialmediaphobia, take a leap and just jump in and learn. Obviously most people have gotten over their fears since 72% of adults now use social media. Social media rocks.  But think strategically before you merely “do” social media.  Nonetheless, social media is a terrific and growing communications tool to better achieve some old, antiquated analog communication. The underlying human behavior remains, technology just helps us deliver it better. Technology is our friend.

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