Social Media: The Killer Question

Since about January 2010, I have spent time speaking to people about the *dynamic* of social media. The range of questions that I have had to field include:

a) should I only give the job of social commuincations “expert” to a generation Y’er ?

b) how much time will all this *stuff* take up?

c) how quickly will I see the results (if they can, of course, identify the results then so much the better!)?

d) how much will it cost?

Now these are all perfectly legitimate questions, but my response has often surprised people:

“Why social media for Your business?”

It may surprise you to learn that I have yet to hear one cogently reasoned answer that supports the proposition that social media was right for the business.

One or two have had the gumption to say: “Do you know, I haven’t got a clue.” Others have offered a response which has nearly always focused on sales, but, when pressed, are not sure how social media can or might drive sales. Others have spun things saying that they were ready and willing to engage but had not found the time.

I have heard it said that no business is immune or should avoid adopting social media, and, to an extent, I accept that but before the adoption phase comes the understanding phase. And I don’t just mean the platforms. I mean the whole paradigm shift that will need to go on between the outbound vs. inboard marketing methodologies and unlearning a great deal of what has been learned.

In answering the question, perhaps the best place to start is to stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself what would it add to or take away from the business. If you cannot convince yourself that there is a strong enough business imperative to start down the road and see the journey out, then may be, just may be, social media needs to be parked up for the moment. One word of caution though: don’t turn the engine off for the moment because you may just find that all your competitors have driven right by you and you don’t have the wheels to catch up let alone stay on level terms.

10 responses to “Social Media: The Killer Question”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Wheeler, Julian Summerhayes. Julian Summerhayes said: My new blog post: Social Media: The Killer Question. http://bit.ly/cjM19Y […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Wheeler, Julian Summerhayes. Julian Summerhayes said: My new blog post: Social Media: The Killer Question. http://bit.ly/cjM19Y […]

  3. Commercially, it’s just a sound business discipline to ask “Why?” regarding Social Media of any other activity.

    Great question, Juiian. Well done.

    Robin :)

    Helping you succeed in business

  4. Commercially, it’s just a sound business discipline to ask “Why?” regarding Social Media of any other activity.

    Great question, Juiian. Well done.

    Robin :)

    Helping you succeed in business

  5. Thanks Robin. Still amazed by the number of people who, whilst knowing of or have heard of SM, have not considered why it’s right for their business. Have a great day.

  6. Thanks Robin. Still amazed by the number of people who, whilst knowing of or have heard of SM, have not considered why it’s right for their business. Have a great day.

  7. Scott Gould says:

    The tip here is to understand first WHY and then HOW can a business adopt social media?

    Namely, there are three ways: social channels, social content, social culture.

    Each of these relates to a different level of participation.

  8. Scott Gould says:

    The tip here is to understand first WHY and then HOW can a business adopt social media?

    Namely, there are three ways: social channels, social content, social culture.

    Each of these relates to a different level of participation.

  9. sean humby says:

    A thought provoking piece. I will start with a quote as it sets up the rest! ‘I quote others in order to better express myself” (Michel Montaigne)
    After reading this it reminded me of Catch 22 – and I shall use the Hellers own words..”There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

    Social media and how it can enhance your business/life is a Catch 22 as Julian says – if you do not participate (and participation needs to be considered/planned and developed through interaction with those embracing social media – in itself a Catch 22!) then you could get left behind – the Will Rogers quote springs to mind “Even if you are on the right track you will get run over if you just sit there!

    There are people who are developing Social media as a valuable tool, not the only tool I must add and for those that are not I would say (or Will Rogers would say!) that “you learn in 2 ways -by reading and by association with smart people”

  10. sean humby says:

    A thought provoking piece. I will start with a quote as it sets up the rest! ‘I quote others in order to better express myself” (Michel Montaigne)
    After reading this it reminded me of Catch 22 – and I shall use the Hellers own words..”There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

    Social media and how it can enhance your business/life is a Catch 22 as Julian says – if you do not participate (and participation needs to be considered/planned and developed through interaction with those embracing social media – in itself a Catch 22!) then you could get left behind – the Will Rogers quote springs to mind “Even if you are on the right track you will get run over if you just sit there!

    There are people who are developing Social media as a valuable tool, not the only tool I must add and for those that are not I would say (or Will Rogers would say!) that “you learn in 2 ways -by reading and by association with smart people”

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