Beware the Seduction of Social Media

As I sit down to write this article, I know that some people may label me as a heretic. After all, Social Media is everywhere and it is transforming the world as we speak – right? We have all heard about unknowns who developed and marketed a persona on the Internet and now have a ton of followers, followers of those followers, friends and friends of friends, fans and endorsements. Does this not seem diluted to you? It appears that the unknowns have gone from rags to riches overnight and now they spend all their time trying to convince us that we have to jump on board to get our share of this gold rush before it is too late!

Step back for a moment and ask yourself, “Does this look and sound familiar?” The Dot-Com Bubble, the Stock Market Bubble and the Housing Bubble have all started this way. Fortunes were made, but many more fortunes were lost as these fads shifted and became the black holes that consumed our resources, both time and money. Sometimes, the fad is so overwhelming that people cannot hear the whole message even when an expert tries to warn them. I am reminded of the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. It not only taught the common investor about the benefits of buying the right Real Estate, but it also contained pretty straight forward words of caution and warning. Unfortunately, many of us did not listen. The lure of fast money is a powerful drug.

Now we have a ton of new gurus telling us how important this new media is to our business and our lives. So called experts are sprouting up all around us and just like every other “Bubble”, we pour money over them in the hope that we can gain some strategic advantage. The point of this article is to be your voice of reason. Social media is a tool, not the magic secret to success. I am suggesting a realistic and balanced approach to this medium.

Think of it this way – New Biz and Old Biz. New Biz is the Internet and everything it involves; from web sites to Social Media. Old Biz is what your company was built on; it is how you deliver your product or service every day. Old Biz pays the bills but it is routine and a little less exciting. New Biz is pure potential and fun, but before you know it, it will also become routine and a little less exciting. So what do you do?

You must decide on a balanced plan. Decide on the level of impact the Internet can have on your business and divide your resources and time accordingly. New Biz should be a sub-project for your company and not the sole focus of your attention. Although New Biz is indeed important and needs to be analyzed and implemented, it cannot and should not take a front seat to Old Biz. Not now, not ever!

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