Dancing With The Social Media Bear

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by Steve Holt on May 7, 2011

The late Yitzhak Rabin, former Prime Minister of Israel, used to say that the only problem with dancing with a bear is that once you start, you can never let go. I think that is an awesome analogy and relevant to what it means for businesses today who want to hop on the social media bandwagon.

So what happens when you stop dancing with the bear? Well, I have never actually done that, so I can’t speak from experience. But I think what Rabin was trying to say is that if you let go of the bear, he will rip your head off. So you better be in it for the long haul.

The studies have shown this over and over… almost half of small businesses don’t even have a website, much less engage in social media of any kind. To me, that is quite shocking. I guess because I live in this world where my immediate perspective is so far removed from that statistic that it just blows my mind that half of small businesses in this country are missing out on so many opportunities. That also means that social media isn’t the only way to grow your business and gain influence, but that is another post for another day.

So back to the bear. I know that many small business owners would agree that diving into social media really is like walking into a dark forest and dealing with a bear. So unpredictable, often confusing, and at times, wild. One of the most common mistakes that small businesses make is that after they open their Twitter account, their Facebook page, their Foursquare Venue… they run out of gas. Life happens, they get busy running their business, and it falls on the back burner.

And that’s when the bear bites you. Getting into social media and then not paying attention is worse than not getting into social media in my opinion. Even with the great tools out there to help you manage your social media presence, it still takes time. Sometimes, it takes lots of time. So if you aren’t willing, or can’t afford the time, to expend the energy it takes to have an ever-present, responsive, engaging social media outreach, then don’t do it.

You don’t want to dance with a bear unless you have lots of dance moves, trust me. Or at least that’s what I hear.

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