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The Only Thing Worse Than No Social Media Presence

by Doug Davidoff | Feb 4, 2010 4:51:12 PM

I don’t spend much time pontificating on social media.  I leave that to people like Gini Dietrich who live in that world. While I certainly have readers who are actively engaged in and even counsel others on the use of social media, most of the readers of this blog are busy working in and on their businesses and focusing on new ways to grow.  Most businesses are still confused by this “new world” and are taking a wait and see approach.  Today, waiting is a mistake – but not the biggest one you can make.

In May of 2009, I wrote that a content marketing strategy was a must for every business.  Social media is clearly a means to distribute content, so it is certainly good news that I see more and more companies of all shapes and sizes announcing, “We’re on [fill in the blank]” – so an “A” for effort.  Unfortunately, execution is getting a clear “F!”  The fundamental mistake lies in the idea that a company or an individual are “on” a social media platform.

Social media isn’t something you’re on – it’s something you engage in.  While it’s become trite to say that tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (to name a few) are not a broadcast medium, apparently this old news hasn’t hit small and mid-sized businesses.

While some businesses engage very effectively, my estimate is that 75% of fast growth businesses are not.  That 75% fall into two categories: one group ignores their platform and posts or updates very infrequently, and the other actively participates, but they tell, and act as if their followers should feel privileged to have access the company’s thoughts.  Frankly, I don’t know which one is worse.

Social media and content marketing provide a tremendous opportunity for companies to clearly demonstrate their difference.  It allows you to leverage your strengths and, in many cases, neutralize your vulnerabilities.  Done correctly, it’s highly leveragable and can lead to a multitude of return in a variety of ways.  The key is that is must be done correctly.  Correctly means that it is open, honest, authentic, and collaborative.

Look, a business does not need to participate in social media to be successful.  Apple has virtually no presence of social media sites or platforms.  My best guess is that this is because they have no desire to collaborate and engage, and that’s fine.

I recommend social media as a great lead generation and cultivation tactic, but if you can’t engage – skip it.

What do you think?