Seven lame, business-killing excuses for not having a social media presence.

1. You’re too busy.

I don’t think social media is optional anymore.

A professional presence in social media is now a marketing necessity, like a business card or a website. You can’t afford not to have a social media presence.

You’ll look like a Luddite, like you’re out of step, like you’re stuck in the Eighties — when people actually got their news from a newspaper, bought things from ads, looke for businesses in the Yellow pages, and were influenced by television.

Do you see anyone reading a newspaper on the bus anymore? They’re all on Twitter and Facebook, buried in their smartphones. You need to be there too.

For most businesses and professions, social media is critically important. Make an investment in social media, plan your strategy first, do it right, and you’ll be paid back ten-fold.

Updating your profile and sending out Twitter updates can become part of your regular routine — like brushing your teeth, answering email and checking your voice mail.

Using free tools, you can interlink all of your social profiles — so that your Twitter automatically updates Facebook, your blog and LinkedIn. You can update everything simultaneously from your mobile phone in a few minutes a day.

2. You don’t “get” this social media thing.

Sorry, you will need to “get” it. This is like shifting from the typewriter to a computer. Or finally buying a cellphone. Or finally getting a website. Or finally getting a PayPal account. Or getting rid of your cash register and replacing it with an iPad and Square.

I am always astonished when businesses spend thousands (or even millions) on print advertising, get no results, and then think they can delegate social media to a minimum wage intern.

Don’t you get it?

The world is changing. Social media IS the media now. Everyone deserted the old media and they’re here now. Why aren’t you?

3. You can’t afford it.

Everything you need to get started is free. At first. Yes, as your influence grows, you will spend more. And why? Because your business will be more successful. You’ll be getting more leads. You will be getting direct sales. And you’ll get hooked on the incredible effectiveness (and low price) of social media advertising.

If you hire a consultant, like me, you can get a lot of value from a few hours of his/her time setting your pages up and coaching you on the unwritten secrets, tips and tricks of really using Social Media brilliantly.

Yes, you are eventually going to spend some money on this. The good news is it will come back, ten fold, in lead generation, direct sales, happier customers and dramatically increased visibility.

4. You don’t need it.

Just like you “didn’t need” a website back in 2000. Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, killed brick and mortar businesses, got all the cool urls and are now worth millions. Are you going to miss out on this land grab too?

500 million people worldwide are utilizing Facebook to create their personal brand. Many events are solely promoted on Facebook. You are really late to the program and totally out of the loop and out of touch if you have a stagnant, rarely updated profile or none at all.

These days a lot of people think you don’t exist anymore if you’re not in the social sphere because they aren’t even using email anymore and use Facebook or LinkedIn as their main way of communicating with colleagues, or Twitter as their main way to announce breaking news.

Social media is, in fact, replacing Google and Yahoo as the entry point for finding news. The first point of entry for discovering news is now through social media pages — which are in essence human-generated, intelligently curated search engines. Are you getting it?

5. You’re doing fine with Google adwords.

Oh yeah? Why are you buying search results that will disappear as soon as you stop paying — when you could be using social sites, earned media (aka press releases and mentions in blogs and mainstream media) and your own blog to build a search ranking that will last forever.

Also, you’re totally missing out on an unbelievably laser-sharp hyper-targeted market if you’re not also advertising on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.

6. You already hired an SEO guy.

In my opinion, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dead. It was important in the age of static HTML websites in the 90s.

Why? Because search engines can only search text! The most important thing you can do is generate tons of text and mentions of your URL that will drive people back to your website. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn all generate these links — and they drive tremendous traffic to your website.

Today, your SEO guy needs to be a social media guy. And generally, the geek mindset of SEO does not come in the same brain as a communicator who is skilled at storytelling, visual content creation and being funny, human and engaging. (Sorry, if you’re an SEO guy who is also an amazing storyteller, you are a gem and your clients should kiss you.)

7. It’s not necessary.

If you are not on social media, your business reputation is at risk! Ignore social media at your peril–because people are probably talking about you, your competitors and your brand. They’re building relationships without you.

They’re inviting everyone else to cool events that you’re not learning about.

If you’re not active on a daily basis on social media by now, it’s as if you don’t exist.

Bad PR used to be quickly forgotten when the newspaper was tossed in the trash. Now it lasts forever in Cyberspace.

Bad customer reviews on social media can quickly destroy a new product launch, a new event or a beta program. Bad word of mouth on social networks will severely damage your personal reputation.

Negative reviews on Yelp can kill a restaurant in a few days. Don’t worry, you can now pay Yelp a monthly fee (aka bribe) to remove bad reviews. Better off to not get them in the first place.

You need to be prepared to brand yourself and position yourself wisely. And you need to pay attention to what your peers, competitors and partners are saying in the social realm. You need to monitor social media 24/7.

If your business is large, you’ll also need to track the coverage and monitor feedback so you can respond to customers immediately. It’s all quickly becoming even more complex than a traditional, mainstream media PR program.

Whatever you call it — Social Media, Emerging Media, New Media — it’s all just a conversation.

But it’s a conversation you can’t avoid anymore. Ignore it at your peril or it will happen without you. It’s time to lead the conversation.

Related

Originally published at visibilityshift.com on November 3, 2010.

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Storyteller for social change. Recovering Vegan. Health/Nutrition Coach. Marketing Director, “The Schoch Protocol: How I Healed from Disabling Long Covid.”

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Giselle "Gigi" Bisson

Giselle "Gigi" Bisson

Storyteller for social change. Recovering Vegan. Health/Nutrition Coach. Marketing Director, “The Schoch Protocol: How I Healed from Disabling Long Covid.”

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