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‘Not for me’: 3 truths to counteract social media misconceptions, apprehensions

The Nasdaq board in Times Square touts Facebook as it debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market in May 2012. The social network site is worth billions, but worthless to those who don't recognize it is only the latest in history's evolving social-media landscape.
The Nasdaq board in Times Square touts Facebook as it debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market in May 2012. The social network site is worth billions, but worthless to those who don't recognize it is only the latest in history's evolving social-media landscape.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, social media has been around for millennia.

For as long as there have been people, there has been a social component to life. On that same thread, as long as there have been people, there have been ways in which we have communicated with one another—whether on cave walls, through ancient precursors to “charades” or otherwise.

(Ever wonder how our ancestors conveyed the life-and-death news of “woolly mammoth coming our way!”?)

When I meet people in business, then, and the subject turns to social media, I frequently ask what they are doing in the social-media space.

As you might expect, the older that people are the more likely they discuss social media as something in a far-off land, light years beyond their grasp.

Their tone can range from wistful to dismissive, but the practical effect is the same. In the words of a woman who is at least in her 70s, whom I met today at a business-networking event: “That’s not me.”

At the same time, she expressed frustration that her company’s website was not attracting nearly as many visitors as she would like. Like so many others, she has yet to see the connection between social-media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and drawing prospective clients to her website.

So the next time you encounter that “not me” plea from someone, whether a prospective client, an existing client or any old (or young) person you encounter, remember these three truths to counteract their social media misconceptions and apprehensions:

Don’t Confuse The Process with The Goal

The goal is not to get thousands of Facebook fans or dozens of “likes” or even a bevy of comments on your latest social media post. It’s essential to view those as helpful parts in a process of raising your profile. Get your profile up high, where more people can see it, and then you get more people who trust you, who respect you and, ultimately, who retain your services or purchase your products--now that is the goal.

World Wide Group leader Brad Duncan, an Amway Crown who was a competitive downhill skier in his early adult years, puts it this way: hardly anyone likes to do sit-ups, but just about everyone likes the results that they can bring. Using physical workouts as a helpful analogy, Duncan also emphasizes building a work habit through modest increments.

Kindly Ask What ‘Isn’t Them’

Is using a computer the deal-breaker for those who steer clear of social media? Do they have difficulty knowing how to navigate the online world? Or is their worry that they will become ensnared in trivial dialogues that diminish their overall work product?

These are all legitimate stumbling blocks. But overcoming them is readily achievable through the simple act of being teachable and opening yourself up to training from those who know how to deliver effective social media communications.

Emphasize the Existence of ‘Smart’ Social Media

There are plenty of social-media pages that traffic in “mind candy”—distracting, sometimes amusing fodder that dilutes your marketing message. Or, worse, there are those pages that detract from a brand by being sloppy (such as rampant misspellings) or offensive (such as crude language).

But there are good and bad examples all around us, in all areas of life, and that’s likewise the case with social media.

The leading social-media pages offer illumination about a topic or topics that demonstrate a brand’s expertise, empower its followers through inspirational content, and build constructive conversations with their audience. In the end, education, empowerment and engagement are a potent combination for any organization’s public relations and marketing effort.