The famed bank robber, Willie Sutton, back in the day when bank robbery was a respected and legitimate criminal profession, when reportedly asked why he robbed banks replied, “Because that’s where the money is!”
I give a similar answer when friends and clients ask me why they should use social media in their businesses. I say because “That’s where the customers are!”
It’s that simple.
Let’s look at a few simple statistics from a study done by Fronetics, Strategic Advisors:
Oh, and by the way, did you know that LinkedIn had 259 million acquired users in over 200 countries and territories as of June 2013?
Get my point?
There’s a lot of eyeballs out in social media looking for something to look at. These numbers will only grow as more people move onto social media applications and become more comfortable with their use. There are still a lot of folks out there who have to get their first smart phone or tablet.
The traditional model for reaching potential customers and staying in touch with existing ones is changing.
Where once, the only way to reach customers was to spend a lot on advertising. This is no longer true. Social media offers a low cost way to reach millions of potential customers and to get your message out. It also offers an opportunity to segment all those potential customers into useful groupings.
As I blogged earlier, content is king. You now have the capability to demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as an influencer in a manner that was unimaginable only a few short years ago.
You have the chance to collaborate with others in your community of interest. You may never meet these people face-to-face but you’ll do business with them and maybe even become close friends with them.
However, change will be the only constant here.
What works today may not be around tomorrow. Remember the hype around myspace? Google+ seems to be having growing pains. (The jury’s still out on the latter for me.) Who knows what the next killer app in social media will be. The dot-com bubble of a while back had many pundits announcing the death of social media. (Not to mention e-commerce, but I’ll let somebody else write that story.)
But, social media has survived and will continue to survive. It has gone through all these tribulations and has emerged larger and stronger than before. The important thing is to build a following in whatever social media apps you’ve selected and then to ensure that you protect your investment in time and effort.
Social media needs to be part of your business development plan. (Check my story on establishing a social media program if you want to know how.) If you’re not in social media then you’re nowhere. Sorry to sound harsh but all those people and organizations I mentioned above won’t come looking for you if you’re off the Grid!
Being on the Grid means doing it in an organized and professional manner. A Facebook page thrown together by your teenaged progeny or one of their cronies probably won’t cut it. Look at the the use of social media by your competition or some of the leaders in this area and compare them to your own, assuming you have something to compare to. You’ll probably start feeling pretty insecure.
Yes, I know you’ll say that there are reasons why you can’t use social media. You’re in a regulated industry. You’re too small. You don’t have the time. I’ve heard them all before and I’ve never believed them.
Even in a regulated industry you can get your message out. If you don’t use social media you’ll always be small and will probably get smaller. As for not enough time, time can always be made, should be made, for the critical few items. Social media is one of those critical few.
I’ll return to these topics over the next several weeks and go into more detail on them. Just remember that while you’re doing nothing with social media, your competition and customers are!
That’s it for now!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
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My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.