First Get Over It – Then Choose Wisely…
It is amazing to me that small business owners are sometimes more savvy in the use of the internet than large companies who have unlimited budgets. It is also a phenomenon that many in government are not familiarizing themselves with useful tools at all. I wonder if they feel that they are already in a position of success and therefore have no need, or if they are still under the illusion that somehow their privacy will be compromised by engaging.
You see, the thing is about privacy… You don’t have any. It does not matter if you use social media or not. You still don’t have any. You have not had any for a few years now; you just did not know it. I know, I know, I know… I can feel your anxiety growing through the keyboard… But your discomfort does not change the facts. Have you gone to Google Earth and put your address in the search window? Do you realize that satellite is strong enough to read the mail off your table?
That is just one example. There are many more. Two years ago my 16 year old son had his friend in Edmonton hack my home computer near Calgary and read back to me my personal conversations on both Hotmail and Google, just to show me that it could be done. That was a teenager. Imagine if a professional hacker wanted your information?
Have you done a Google search on your name? You may not be on Facebook or Twitter but people may still be talking about you there. It is actually likely that they are. You just have no way of responding to it or defending yourself in the electronic marketplace if you are absent. Monitoring the chat is possible but you are not engaged. Silence is deadly to a brand and it is harmful to individuals as well. Social media is going on whether you are going with it or not.
I was horrified last week as I did some research on my favourite political party and discovered that most of the leaders can’t be found on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Elections are being won these days by having intelligent campaign managers who use a combination of traditional platforms with social media elements. Those who do not engage – lose! But after the election is over ladies and gentlemen we need to wake up and smell the coffee. Do you want to stay in power? The fastest way to shift the heart of the nation would be to pull a Jack Layton and employ the efforts a bunch of college students and even staunchly committed Quebec could be temporarily duped into switching sides!
Companies that currently do 40 million dollars a year in sales with no social media presence are going to lose out to companies who are only doing $500 000 a year today. Why? Because online a good website and a great LinkedIn profile coupled with some active social media chatter redirects attention to a new brand. The end user on the computer can’t tell the difference between the two companies except by what is being said by the company itself and by the online chatter. How do I know? I create the marketing plans for several of those smaller companies, and we begin by collecting the data of where they are now and we examine where they want to be and that often means we are carefully analyzing the competition. If the largest competitor is not using social media or not using it correctly the conquest is easy. Time and engagement are the only factors we need to add to the equation. The amusing part to me is that we would work just as happily for a large company but often they think they have it covered because they have a marketing department (that is older than 2 years old) so they don’t examine new methods. They are doing good, why change anything?
The world is changing. Five years ago Facebook was nothing. Today it is huge. Groupon had a rise and a fall along with hundreds of other daily deal companies. The Yellow Pages which were so powerful a force are wiped off the map. It is pretty arrogant to think that we don’t have to change.
We need to get over it. There is no privacy. It is an equal playing field again due to the internet. If you are ahead in this game, you will only stay ahead if you adapt quickly to changing methods.
The only thing that will endear you to this new market is relationship. Relationship with the masses can only be done through social media. The people are waiting to engage with the leaders of industry, the leaders of government, and the leaders of thought. Those who engage, will be those who win.
So get over it, and get on with it.
This is a my favorite scene from a movie about making a bad choice. We could learn something from this!