Let Us Address Your Concerns.

Many of our customers don’t use social media.
You might be surprised to learn how many customers already use these new tools. There are plugs-ins available to search contacts in your CRM or email system to see who is already online to connect with. The demographics of social media use are widely distributed. For real-time demographics on the use of a specific tool visit Quantcast.

I don’t have the time to contribute or use social media.
With a little experience and familiarity with the technology the time required will decrease. Provide your team with tips on how to get started connecting and sharing information. In many cases your employees are already taking the time to produce content that can be used on your social media sites. So build an internal process foe distribution of that information to your connections and followers quick and easy.

Social Media are only used by younger people.
This just isn’t true. The average Facebook user is 38 years old. 25% of the users on the top 20 social media sites are aged 35 to 44. More than 80% of Twitter users are over 25 years old. You should look at social media as an opportunity to connect with existing stakeholders and build relationships with future customers.

It is true that younger generations make up part of the social media demographic. And there is no reason to turn your back on them. Being progressive in your marketing efforts will contribute to future success by engaging Gen Xers and Millennials and building a pipeline of future customers.

I’m concerned about legal ramifications.
Drafting a social media policy that clearly outlines the responsibility of using social media as it relates to legal and regulatory issues addresses this concern.

I don’t want customers or co-workers to know what I am doing on Facebook.
Having a corporate Facebook presence shouldn’t impact your personal account. Make sure you setup your security settings to meet your requirements for personal privacy. Directing clients to connect with you “professionally” on LinkedIn can also help limit the number of personal Facebook “friend” invites you receive from them.

Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean we have to.
This isn’t about peer pressure. It is about sound business principles. Getting involved in social media opens new channels for increased engagement with your current and potential clients. If you don’t give social media a chance there is the possibility of missed sales opportunities, lead generation and cost savings. If market leaders in every industry see the value in social media it is worth investigating.

We don’t want negative comments about our company in a forum we have created. Maybe it is better to stay away from social media instead of risking damage to our brand.

Online conversations are going to happen. It is better to be engaged than be unaware of discussions related to you. In most cases, the individuals following or connecting with you are supporters. They will appreciate this new level of transparency. In many cases you can setup the tool to approve comments before they are posted. If this isn’t the case negative comments can be deleted in the forums you manage. Another approach is to respond to any criticism that might appear. Either way, most people will appreciate you providing new forums to engage your stakeholders.

You can’t measure ROI for social media campaigns.
While certain aspects of a social media campaign are difficult to quantify, they are still important to help market your company. These tools allow you to position the company as a thought-leader or industry expert. They increase visibility for your brand. They strengthen connections with existing customers.

There are others that are easier to measure including quality of engagement, number of connections and impact on organic search results. You can also begin to track referrals, leads and new customers from social media channels. For more info on ROI check out these infographics.

I already have too much information with email and the website I visit.
Times change and so do information paradigms. The amount of information you had access to a few years ago was infinitely more than people at any other point in history. There is even more information now. But social media and tools like RSS allow you to access it in smarter ways. The info is presented differently allowing you to “skim” through conversations. The right tools for you should be helpful, not a burden.

So much of what’s discussed online is meaningless. These forms of communication are often shallow or personal in nature.
The topics discussed online are endless so much of it is irrelevant to you. However, it is easy to cut through the conversation that is meaningless to you. Begin by subscribing to a search for keywords in a specific area of interest, joining groups related to your area of interest or following individuals / companies relevant to your practice. If you use this as your starting point for engagement the info you access will not be meaningless. It should also connect you with like-minded professionals, potential customers and future stakeholders.

Some of the tools seem like a fad. What if I start to use one and it isn’t around in a year?
There are certain tools that are declining or changing like MySpace or Ning. However, there are others, like Facebook with more than 500 million users, that appear to be sticking around for at least a few years. Either way, the skills you build and the connections you make using the current tools will remain with you. This is more about paradigm shift related to how information is accessed than about any one specific tool.

There are too many tools. I don’t know where to start.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of sites. Use a few that are the most widely adopted and applicable to you. You should identify a few tools to use as a starting point. Then provide tips to your team on how to get started with each as the project rolls out.

Social Media are used primarily for maintaining personal relationship and entertainment.
While these are certainly personal components to social media use, there are plenty of business applications. More than 300,000 businesses have a Facebook presence. More than 1/2 of the Fortune Global 100 have blogs and 2/3 have Twitter accounts.

Individuals have shown that they are interested in connecting with companies online. 43% of all Facebook users have become Fans of a brand with a few of the primary motivators being “to show my support for the company to others” and “to stay informed about the activities of a company”. According to Nielsen, 90% of people trust the recommendations of their Facebook friends. As a result, the endless connections that make up social communities like Facebook provide an opportunity for viral marketing.