Apr 052011

20110405-163811.jpgHave you ever found yourself in a discussion with someone about themselves, what they do, or who they work for? How often have you heard or used the following:

I will Google YOU.
I will friend YOU on Facebook
I need to "Like" YOU.
Are YOU on Twitter?
Can I find videos about YOU on YouTube?
I will connect with YOU on LinkedIn.
and of course, I will look YOU up on the web.

If you can't respond to all of the above questions, just what exactly are you doing about Social Media? While you are thinking about that, your competition is laughing cause they are already venturing in the social media universe, signing your clients away from you.

Think about it. If you want to know what a restaurant has to offer, do you wait until you get there to find out, or do you launch your favorite web browser and find out? If you want to see what cars a dealer has available, do you not go look them up on the web?

People don't just stay on the world wide web looking for your website any more either. They look for you to communicate with them on their own terms, and in their own space. Tons of people are now looking to Facebook and Twitter to provide them with even more details about what you have to offer them. From the most basic details about whom you are, to deal, and promotions, or even a place just to have a say. Facebook saw this potential some time ago, and now all the major players in nearly every business sector and enterprise are there. You may be small Mom and Pop shop, or a small company, but you have an advantage. The costs to get into Social Media for you, is exactly FREE. Coke may have many millions allotted for Social Media this year, and some companies are now "all in" with their entire marketing budget in Social Media, but their cost to setup an account and start is no different than yours. Isn't selling your business important to you? Do you know want your customers new and old to know about your brand value? People want to know who YOU are, and if YOU can't be found, where are they looking? Directly at your competition!

Something to consider. Today's lifestyle is very much interwoven into the very fabric of Social Media, and electronic communication. Even without a Tweet, a Wall Post, a blog entry, you already have an online reputation. As such, before I even call upon you for your services, or eat at your restaurant, visit your office, buy a car from you, I already know all about you, and it takes me less than a minute to do this, and in most cases, what I find determines what business relationship we have.

You nor your business can afford to have an "I need to wait to see" attitude or "We need for the economy to rebound before we jump in". There's a lot more to Social Media than what Justin Beiber is doing with his left Nike shoe, or the latest freakout that Charlie Sheen had. It's even more than your company name, it's about YOU. While you're contemplating why you're not there, remember, your competition wants you to keep thinking, and remain inactive. I have mentioned it before, if I can't find you, but i can find your competition, guess where I get the services that YOU offer?

Have you looked at what your competition is doing with Social Media?
Have you ever spoken directly with your customers, and find out what they think, or even need from you?
Can you reasonably define the term "online"? (and no, it doesn't mean firing up Internet Explorer or Firefox or getting "on the net")
What message are you wanting to convey to your customers?
What is your "Value message" beyond your product or service?
Have you set forth guidelines for your employees regarding social media?

I do have one last question for you to think about. What costs more, waiting or starting? Your competition certainly hopes you do the former.

Ian Archibald
You In Social Media