I recently received an email from a small business owner who said, “I hate social media.” In the next paragraph, she asked me what she could to do grow her business, which relies on the Internet for the vast majority of its sales. While the short answer to that question is, “Use social media,” I was smart enough not to say that, even though it's true. Small business owners frequently tell me that social media makes them gag, so I thought I'd take a look at how to bypass the emotions that prevent so many people from using new media tools to maximize their success.
While many people hate the term, ‘social media,” they don't hate what it can do for them. Unfortunately, their hatred of the term prevents them from discovering what it can do for them. To overcome this unacceptable result, start by getting away from the term and start calling it what it is at its core — media.
I only use the term “social media” because it's easy to remember and search engines pick it up. But the reality is that social media is just media — a particular type of media — and you need to produce media in order to retain and attract customers. So if the term, “social media” causes angst, stop using it and think in terms of using technology to produce media.
Media Is Simply Information
Media is simply information. It's data. It's content that you circulate to share your ideas and the products and services you offer. Audio clips, blog posts video recordings, photographs, cartoon drawings, books, white papers, post cards, As you create and circulate content, you cause people to take action. You energize them, get them talking. You excite them or you anger them. You inform them, and you entertain them. You also empower them to take steps to change their lives for the (hopefully) better.
Consider what you do when you read an interesting magazine article or hear a great news story:
You log onto the website mentioned to make a purchase or get more information
You tell your friends and family members about it
You cry because the information makes you sad, or you laugh because it's funny
You cut the article out and file it for reading later
You make a mental note, consciously or unconsciously, about the person or company that you got the information from
You are also likely to share the information with others using tools like Twitter, FaceBook or your own blog. When you do these things, you are duplicating someone else's content. In other words, you are helping them spread the word about their ideas.
You must create media so you can empower people to do the same thing!
When you see, hear or read new and interesting information, you usually do something in response to it. This is the essence of how the media works. And it's the reason why you must create and distribute your own media — so you can influence people to share your ideas and take some kind of action as a result of your influence on them.
In A Nutshell
My conclusion after speaking with hundreds of small and independent business owners through the years is that people dislike the term “social media” because it's seems hyped, confusing, overwhelming, time consuming and faddish. As a result, they ignore it or put off understanding and embracing it.
If this describes you, try removing the phrase “social media” from your vocabulary. When you hear the term, think about “media” in all of its forms. Consider how technology helps you create media — branded media — that you can share with specific people who are interested in what you have to say and offer. Perhaps this will help you embrace the process of creating and distributing the media you need to build your brand.
I hope to see you at one of my workshops in Atlanta (save $100 on early bird registration by December 21!), Chicago, San Francisco or New York! Let's make some media together!
Question: What do you think? Does thinking this way help eliminate some of the highly charged and negative emotions so you can put the focus on creating all kinds of different media to spread the word about what you do?