Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In Honor of Father's Day

My dad is asking me about all things social media.  As a small business owner he's heard a lot about the value of social media, but doesn't seem to know how to go about using online technologies to market and promote the services his company offers.  In the fall he had my uncle, his business partner, create a Facebook page for their small self-storage facility, but as the page has exactly 6 fans (each of the members of family) it's done little to generate any revenue this far.  So now he's wondering (i.e. asking me about) if he should get the business on Twitter.  I'm trying to explain to him that he can't just go on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and wait for the profits to roll in.  He actually has to utilize these tools as part of an actual marketing campaign by incentivizing users to join, and by creating traffic to direct potential consumers to his products.  Now this confusion surrounding how to use social media is not at all unique to my dad, or even to his generation.  I talk to students about using social media to publicize and reinforce their personal brand, which, simply put, refers to those skills and characteristics that make you unique, hopefully in regards to your employability.  But you can't just create the twitter account and wait for good things to happen.  You actually need to tweet - often!  The same goes for LinkedIn or blogs or any other social media be implemented in the hopes of getting hired; you need to actually use these tools!  Does this take time? Yes.  Is it often frustrating? Yes! I mean, I am fairly certain that no one is actually reading this blog (except for you Mom, "Hi Mom!")  But, as I've tried to explain to my Dad, social media is not something you can just opt into it.  It takes time, energy, and a plan.  Yes, it seems that everyone these days is using social media.  But if you plan to get results from it, you've got to do it right.  Now this is not something my Dad doesn't know.  Rather, his entire career is based on hard work and "doing things right."  So as far as social media goes, I'm happy to help him out and show him the ropes as he gets his online footing.  And no, don't worry, this isn't some sad excuse to avoid getting him a father's day present - I already bought him some socks.

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