Ask not what social media can do for you, but what you can do for social media

I’m a web developer. Every job I’ve ever had I hear “I just don’t get [insert social media outlet here]. How could it ever be useful?” I wondered how anyone could not get something so simple and useful. But then I realized that everyone is not as integrated into social media as I am. Being a younger professional in my mid twenties, social media has been a part of my life for almost 10 years. In high school we had Myspace, in college we had Facebook and now we have Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest and much more. My generation has embraced social media because it doesn’t scare us. We know what it is and how to use it. Social media was never something that we had to struggle to understand or be taught. It was just something that developed with us over the years. For those outside my generation, there is a learning curve that needs to be overcome so they no longer fear the unknown.

Most business executives and CEO’s are not in their mid-twenties. I’ve noticed many decision makers in businesses seem apprehensive about adopting social media simply because they don’t understand it. You can throw facts and figures at them to show how social media works, but nothing will convince them that social media will improve their business because they just don’t get it. This has been a day to day struggle in my world and one that I believe can be overcome by one simple rule; stop being afraid of what you don’t know, instead be willing to try it out and learn.

The only way to get to know social media is to use it. Don’t go to a class, read a book or listen to someone explain it to you. Just use it and see how it works. Every time I explain how to use some type of social media to someone, all I get is a blank stare. Me explaining it doesn’t help. Instead, practical application does.

I have never met an avid user of social media that doesn’t believe in its effects and uses for businesses. You too can be a believer if you understand how it works. Your business has nothing to loose from having an active Twitter or Facebook page, in fact you would grow your online customer base. Having a conversation online with your customers has become the new standard and a way to get ahead of your competition. Don’t let your business fall behind, and more importantly don’t let your fear hold you back. Today is the day to embrace social media.

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