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11 Social Media Fears and Overcoming Them Now

18 May 2009 | social-media | 2 Comments

social media fears

Social Media Fears

The only thing more popular than social media right now is people fearing social media and trust me, being educators and consultants, our group hears it all- you’re not alone. There are legitimate objections that corporations have, but we have counterpoints to the top 10:

1. We won’t have control over the conversation.

That’s true, but avoiding social media means you miss the opportunity to participate in the conversation. A natural, organic conversation is in demand today and the era of control is over. You’re being talked about whether you’re involved or not, so take this chance to get involved in the conversation.

2. Our company has to worry about privacy.

All companies have to deal with anti-trust issues, but your absence could lead to a complete lack of trust in you by the consumer. It was recently reported that 93% of social media users expect companies to have a social media presence and an absence is an immediate mark against a company in some eyes. Establish corporate policy prior to using social media that covers privacy (or retool your non-compete contracts to cover social media use).

3. Our demographic isn’t online.

Wrong. Well, unless your demographic is a fetus or a corpse, they’re online. Facebook alone has over two million users over age 55 and the growth of all of the networks is so massive (we’re talking 1000%+ in some cases), the demographic of web users is no longer those “whipper snapper” kids. Here is the 2008 social media stats report.

4. Our users won’t connect with us.

Yes they will. It takes grooming and a concise strategy, but you won’t sit alone online unless you set up a profile then stare at the screen. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality is not at all true in social media. The benefit to social media is that you can reach new markets and bring in new users.

5. What if we fail?

I would ask in return- what if you fail to try? We’ve already established that consumers expect you to be online and because social media is a relatively young medium, it is still a forgiving space. If you make a mistake, apologize and move on. Don’t try to control the situation or pass the buck, take responsibility for a failed experiment and promise your audience you’re learning from it.

6. We fear spending too much time without results.

Fearing a time investment won’t get you far, think of it as a risk spending too *little* time as you watch your competitors eat up your market. Your value proposition in social media is an authentic presence and results vary, so we advise changing your strategy as you go. Being flexible will improve your chances of results.

7. What if people criticize us or our product?

Social media is a unique opportunity to overcome objections and publicly create fans and change minds not by controlling the message but by addressing problems head on without being defensive. Social media is based on making genuine connections, so why not use this opportunity to be human as you address criticism. Being silent is the same to some as agreeing, so be proactive.

8. I don’t trust my staff to handle our social media.

You should probably fire them then because if you trust them to sell your product or service in person or over the phone, social media is no different, it’s just a different communication tool, we call this accountability. Properly train your staff, keep everyone educated and as mentioned before, remain flexible.

9. We don’t have enough staff for a social media campaign.

Then start small. As a business owner, sign up on Twitter and just be yourself. You don’t have to constantly sell, you can simply make people want to contact you or your company by giving them an informal behind-the-scenes peek. As you find time and it becomes easier, grow your efforts.

10. We don’t have a budget for social media.

Yes you do, it’s called a marketing budget. Social media is 68% of marketers’ priority in 2009 and being in the remaining 32% poses a risk of being beaten to connect with the consumer. If you don’t have dollars to invest, at least invest time and make social media a priority.

11. I don’t know where to start.

An education is the first place. If you don’t have a social media education program in your area (as we do here in Austin), consider hiring a social media consultant even if just to establish where to begin. Depending on the size of your company, it may be starting a blog. Others may need a presence on Facebook or Twitter while others have consumers still focused on forums. Exploring social networks and listening is the ultimate starting point, never dive in head-first without knowing how deep the pool is.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Lori Luza
    May 18th, 2009 on 11:57 am

    Dead on…as usual! Great job, Lani!

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