Open Letter to Business Leaders - Embrace Social ASAP!

Open Letter to Business Leaders – Embrace Social ASAP!

Dear Successful Business Leader,

Your day is full doing what you do best – running your company. You may not have any interest in learning about new social technologies or how they can help you communicate with your audience. You already have great relationships with your customers, and wonder – why would I need to connect with them online too? Here’s the thing though, social is drastically changing the world and the business world. Deciding not to participate is a huge missed opportunity. A few statistics:

“You’re hearing, seeing it, and feeling the ground shift under your feet.” – quote from the book NOW Revolution by Jay Baer & Amber Naslund. Listen to that nagging thought that’s encouraging you to get social! It can be integrated into your business in so many ways – research & development, improving the customer feedback loop, marketing, customer service, and networking for sales or to building strategic alliances. In order to make awesome social media decisions for your business you need to keep up with what is happening in the social space.

Our digital and physical worlds are moving closer together. In the digital world, everything makes a permanent impression online. This can either be a positive or a negative impression. Building your brand, and monitoring your reputation online has to be approached with the long-term in mind. Yes, social media is a marketing channel, but it is so much more and needs to be treated that way.

It takes time to develop meaningful relationships – in real life AND online. You can’t be ‘salesy’ too soon. You wouldn’t  walk up to a stranger at a business mixer and immediately give them your sales pitch. That is one of the hardest things to explain to business leaders – on social channels you can’t try to sell too soon, and you must be patient. Be likeable, be conversational – just like business chit chat in real life. Whether you have a small or larger business, you will need a consistent effort for a minimum of 6-12 months for the best chance of success.

In the next few years we will see an amazing amount of deeper integration of digital networking into real life. This means that brands that don’t have a good presence in this space will have an even a harder time catching up to the companies that are currently investing. The only way to have a successful social media presence is if people actually read and engage with you and your content. This is where your first investment comes in. It’s important not to think about personal gain for you or your company, but to focus on how you can serve and contribute to the social community you wish to become part of. Social Media is about giving first, sharing information and promoting others. It allows the opportunity to add value to everyone’s online experience. This gives companies and brands a chance to do the opposite of what consumers have come to expect with the same old marketing advertorial type message. Businesses are built on relationships – one customer and one referral at a time. We have an incredible opportunity to contribute and genuinely connect with our audience every day through social media at a faster rate then ever before – in real time.

You may have noticed that social has gone global. We are at a point now where the question isn’t if you should invest in social but rather what is your budget (time or $) and how do you get started? You have 2 main options when it comes to creating and implementing a social media marketing campaign.

1. DIY: “Do It Yourself” If you are a small business where there is no budget or very little budget then you really don’t have much choice but to start learning about how social works and how to implement it yourself. Fortunately there are some fantastic resources online such as Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today (and there are a bajillion more!). If you have some budget, then hiring a qualified social media consultant or trainer will save you tons of hours of frustration and will help to accelerate the learning curve.

2. Hire a person or team to represent you. People ask me how can you effectively represent someone else on social media, when social media needs to be such an authentic voice. The only way to be awesome at social media is to care and to participate daily. You must care about not just the company you represent but the people and culture that makes that company great. Whether it’s an outside consultant, or an existing or new employee, your social ambassador needs to have some understanding of your business and your industry in order to have valuable public conversation in real time.

I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and embrace social! Start with small steps if you need to, but start taking action now, so you don’t have to regret not trying.

Here are more interesting stats from Erik Qualmann of Socialnomics – Social Media Revolution 3 (June 2011):

Are you an experienced social media user? What were the first steps you took when you started to learn? Has it been worth your time/investment? As they say in Social Media Club, “If you get it, share it.” Please share your experience in the comments below. I look forward to reading your thoughts and answering your questions!

Stay Social,
Sean Charles

Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean)

Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean)

Social Business Technologist at Social Media Sean
I am an easy going social business entrepreneur that is positive on purpose. I get pumped about providing social solutions to luxury brands and technology start ups. I build content strategies and mange communities to help grow your business and brand equity. In other words I help you make more money.
Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean)

@SocialMediaSean

Sean is my Name & Social Media is my Game! Jazz, Dogs & Tech! https://t.co/PRHQnTPV3q Victoria B.C. #YYJ
User-Generated Content: Building Connection, Context and Relationships with Customers Who Share https://t.co/T7Wd22miqQ via @TedRubin - 59 mins ago
Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean)

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I am an easy going social business entrepreneur that is positive on purpose. I get pumped about providing social solutions to luxury brands and technology start ups. I build content strategies and mange communities to help grow your business and brand equity. In other words I help you make more money.
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8 Comments

  1. Amnon Michael Cohen September 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    IT IS TRUE that corporations and incorporations, like individuals and organizations as well as Special Interests’ Groups — adjust to employing modern Local as well as Global Clouds of data plus information processing and management, including, wise administration.  Local Clouds meaning private secured and vaulted networks, and Global ones are the Global Marketing and Trading Places.

    So, Wise Managers, keep learning new and changing skills-sets…

    • Social Media Sean September 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Amnon,
      You bring up some really great points regarding the cloud and the different networking options. Do you think there will come a time when local cloud based networks will disappear?

      Regards,
      Sean 

      • Amnon Michael Cohen September 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm - Reply

        SHARE the wisdom, as we agreed at our meeting “So much can happen in our gifted region” and you can connect some or even merge partnerships – just with you ‘toytool’ on the go…

  2. Brittany at Sprout Social October 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    Definitely agree with you, Sean! Businesses and brands who are dragging their heels to get involved with social media are going to be even further behind the curve once social media becomes an absolutely necessity. I’d suggest creating personal accounts first and learning the etiquette of each platform before launching your company’s presence. That way you can really learn the benefits and limitations of each space and how to really maximize your time and brand exposure on each one. 

    • Social Media Sean October 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      Cool!
      Thanks Brittany for adding some value to the conversation :) There is a point to high light. Getting evolved in social media ASAP is important BUT only if you have the resources, skill sets and the people to effectively launch your social presence. 

      So at the end of the day:
      Is having no presence better then having a really bad presence on Social Media?

      • Brittany at Sprout Social October 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm - Reply

        Absolutely – I think that’s where a lot of businesses get caught up too. They’ve heard that it’s important to get into social media ASAP, but don’t even know how to create an account (we’ve actually seen this quite a bit in our line of work!)… so running contests or building online networks just seems like even more of a foreign language.

        That’s why I think it’s important to educate yourself, read blogs, spend time on your personal accounts to get acclimated… but until then, my personal opinion is that it’s better to have no presence (for a very short time period) than a bad one (and never take the initiative to learn more or improve).  Having a poor social presence could imply that you’re not listening to your customers and don’t care… which is never good! Just my two cents though :) 

        • Social Media Sean October 10, 2011 at 11:06 pm - Reply

          Right ON! BRITTANY!
          The best way to do social media is to learn the necessary skills required to have an outstanding presence on the social networks. I usually suggest this first, but many companies don’t have anyone willing to learn and implement these social strategies. So then they look at hiring a social media team to represent them, but usually only successful, profitable companies can afford to out source these efforts. This puts us back to square one where the small business owner on a budget must basically suck it up and learn this new technology or their business will struggle to grow and will probably end up closing sooner then they would like.
          Awesome convo Brittany! What’s you twitter? 
          I’m http://www.twitter.com/socialmediasean 

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