The other day I ran into an man in Peet’s cafe. He introduced himself as a seasoned marketing professional. I told him I was too — but that I specialize in social media.
He spat out vehemently: “Most of social media is pure bullsh*t for my clients.”
Maybe he’s right…for his clients it might be a waste of time. (Maybe his clients are all computer illiterate, over 60, still use a landline or are Luddites who don’t trust ATM machines yet either.)
For a few, select businesses, like lawyers, (unless they deal with high profile cases), or people with government or corporate jobs (unless they are company spokespersons), or arms dealers, or private detectives, or anyone with a security clearance, it’s probably better to keep a very low or non-existent social media profile.
But if you’re a business that would be listed in the Yellow Pages, if you’re a business that would have a business card, if you’re a business that would get written up in the newspaper, if you do your business online and especially if you’re a current or aspiring public figure — Social Media is your new calling card.
Social media, like PR, is not for everyone.
Not everyone wants to be famous, and not every business needs a public profile. Some businesses are better off quietly working their sales team, Rolodex and one-on-one relationships. For example, if your customers don’t use the Internet, then you won’t find them here either.
But if you run any business with an online presence, and if you want visibility, then social media is for you.
Social media campaigns are also critically important for most small town “Mom and Pop” businesses like restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, hair salons, moving companies and the like — because getting listed in Yelp! and showing up on the Yahoo or Google Map is now more important than a Yellow Pages listing. (Yellow what? Who, under the age of 65, uses the phone book anymore?)
And for that reason, social media is quickly becoming a tool in the marketing/PR professional’s arsenal — to complement speaking engagements, press tours, article placement, trade shows and the like.
I’ve been doing traditional print and broadcast PR for more than 20 years. But social media is by far, the easiest, cheapest, fastest, most effective promotional tool I’ve ever used.
Better than email. Better than newspaper ads. Better than brochures and postcards. Much better than a website that nobody ever finds or reads. Faster and thus sometimes even more effective than traditional news media press relations.
For some businesses, like doctors, dentists, real estate agents, authors, consultants and especially small businesses and sole proprietors, it can bring you a whole new level of visibility.
And for others, like artists, musicians, performers, workshop leaders or anyone who throws events, it’s downright essential.
But if you’re still reading a newspaper, listening to the radio and using a landline, maybe Social Media is not for you.