Social Media is a big, fat waste of time

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I hear that occasionally when I talk to people about using social media to do various things.  I also hear things like “I don’t have time to bother with it.”, “I wouldn’t know where to begin.”, and one of my favorites… “I don’t see how it would benefit me, I mean, my customers don’t really care what I had for breakfast this morning.”  Well, actually, they might.  Just read “Trust Agents” (fantastic read by the way…. trust me.)  and you’ll see what I am talking about.

Let me start by saying that social media in its various forms can indeed be a time waster.  I do admit to procrastinating on things on my to-do list because I got caught up reading blog posts and trolling Twitter for news.  Having said that, to simply brush aside social media as a fad, or as something that you only do when you want to share your vacation photos, is short-sighted and to be honest about it, just plain dumb.

Lee Oden posted a great article recently at entitled “Why Do So Many Companies Suck At Social Media?”  He sums it up great, so I want to use his words.  In a nutshell, he says that if your company ‘fails’ to participate in social media, then you are choosing NOT to…

* Listen – Social media monitoring.
* Create – Content that customers actually want.
* Engage – There is no substitute for direct participation with customers in social communities.
* Be open – Stop deciding what’s best for your customer and be open to letting them show you how they’d like to engage.
* Be brave – Show leadership in your social participation.
* Test – Moving corporate mountains is tough, so try proof of concept campaigns, run business case examples and get your feet wet.
* Change – Organizations can only be social if leadership buys in and a commitment to change is made.
* Make money – Don’t be fooled into thinking social media is all about kumbaya with customers. It’s about creating opportunities to connect and influence sales: indirectly and in some cases, directly.

Holy smokes Batman!  He’s right.  Choosing not to participate in some way in social media outlets is not just a choice that doesn’t get made.  You are actually failing.  You’re missing the boatload of opportunities around you.  And the fact that so many companies suck at it means that your competitors probably don’t know what the heck they are doing either.  So this is your chance.  Could it be a waste of time?  Maybe.  But let’s go waste time together, shall we?

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