Last weekend I presented the “Do’s and don’ts of social media” in front of a group of friends. Knowing that I’m using social media for a long time and that I was teaching about this subject at the University of Gdansk, they asked me to share my experiences with them. Upfront I realised I would have to deal with a rather preoccupied group of non-users, may be even social media haters. For social media users it’s almost impossible to imagine that there’s still such a huge group of non-users, but that’s just fact, at least in Europe. So how to convince them?
Convince without trying to convince
Honestly, I really don’t care whether someone is a social media user or not. And in general I won’t try to convince a non-user to consider using it. This is a personal decision and everybody has to decide about that himself. What I can do of course is showing some trends, presenting some nice examples,explaining why I’m using it, what I gained from it and sharing what risks I see.
The next generation won’t question whether or not to use social media
While preparing for this presentation I realised the whole audience consisted out of parents of young children. And our children will soon start using social media.
Internet in general is a great source of information for our children, but meanwhile it includes several risks as well. Risks mainly related to our privacy and personal identity. We have to realize that everything we make public online, remains public forever. It’s not easy to delete things on the Internet. While communicating with others, you cannot be really sure who you are talking to. People can use a virtual identity. We will have to teach our children how to handle this, how to deal with that and how they can protect themselves.
But how can you teach your children how to use social media when you don’t know what this is about? The non-users among the audience agreed, which made the story a lot easier.
Professionals and business owners just have to use it
Towards professionals and business owners in general the story is a lot easier. Through social media they can learn, get in touch, present themselves, find new business, etc. It remains their own decision whether to use it or not of course, but after some examples they realised themselves in what ways they could make use of social media.
Realising the opportunities is the first step, execution is another thing. First of all you will have to know who you want to talk to and then you will have to define what message you want to spread. I believe this will sound to many people just like the traditional marketing theories we are used to. Once you know your marketing strategy, you can decide what tools to use.
And that’s right. All marketing rules we were taught in the past apply very well to social media usage. Treat social media as a different marketing channel with its own specifics. Just give it a try, experiment and find out yourself whether it’s useful for you.