SOCIAL MEDIA TIP OF THE WEEK: Social Media is Part of Our Culture for Better or Worse

Maybe you saw the ad during the Super Bowl.  A guy and a girl are having a nice date, at least the guy hopes so, and he leaves his date and heads into his car.  It is a car equipped with one of those OnStar things that lets him use his car’s mirror to communicate with the world.  He is smiling and pushes the button.  With a few simple words the voice from the OnStar reads out his Facebook newsfeed and he finds out that his date has posted that she just went on “the best first date ever.”  He smiles and the car company tells you what car you should buy.

In fact, if you read this story by Mashable.com, this year’s Super Bowl was a social media bonanza unlike anything the world, or at least the world of football, has ever seen before:  http://mashable.com/2011/02/07/social-media-super-bowl-ads/

You simply cannot deny it anymore.  Social media is here and it is here to stay.  The fact that probably few people did NOT understand what that commercial meant is just one bit of proof that social media is not going away anytime soon.  In fact, all indications are that it will continue to evolve.  That, of course, like so much in the sphere of social media, is both a blessing and a curse.

It can be tough to take that first step into the world of social media.   You have to fight off all of the questions that always come up: what do we have to say?  Does it make sense for our company?  Isn’t that just for kids?  Isn’t that just a waste of time?  Then, once you convince everyone that your company might as well be prehistoric without being on social media, you have to do all of the research and prepare yourself.  Then, once you get it all set up, you have to keep going out there again and again and posting even when it seems like there are only two people listening and one is your boss and the other is your mom.

Nothing in life is easy, as they say.  That includes social media.  It takes effort and it takes guts.  It takes time to craft a message and post it out there and realize that whatever you post is associated with your company for as long as the internet is in existence.  That seems like it is going to be a very  long time.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all alone.  There are already countless people out there who can help.  That number is growing, too, and it goes beyond hiring your 12-year-old nephew to post Twitter updates and Facebook status posts.  There are programmers and marketing people and communications experts and consultants who can help you.  It’s no longer anything you can deny or put off.  It’s like trying to deny that television will ever actually catch on and continuing to a radio soap opera.

Questions and uncertainty are only a bad thing if you never take the steps to assure yourself or to answer your questions.  Reaching out for help is an investment in your company and your company’s message.  How much is your company worth?  How much is its future worth?  Once you calculate that, finding the help you need may not be that difficult.

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