Old-School Context for a 21st-Century World

I know some of you out there are still trying to digest the whole social media thing, so I am going to give you old-school context for a 21st-century world. Think of your website as your retail location, your store in the mall. Now think of social media as the foot traffic that passes the store.

Sometimes the traffic passes directly in front of the store, that’s going to be the people who know you or like you or follow you online. Now you have someone who parked on the completely other end of the mall who never directly sees your store, but their friend just walked by it and talked about you on Facebook. That’s called the social graph and that is how someone finds out about you without ever stepping foot in our virtual store (your website).

So your construction website is the retail store, social media gives you the ability to be in different places in that mall, get it? You can be on a sign over here and you can be on a billboard over there, you can be in a conversation two people are having at the Starbucks on the 3rd floor.

Social media is a chance for people to meet you, get to know you and like you outside of the confines of your online store (website). In other words, there is more of a chance that somebody sees or hears about you throughout the social media world (our mall) than just happens to crash into your store in the mall, again, your website.

But first, they need to have a need for what you do, so that’s one. They need to be looking for what you do. On social media, they may just be thinking about or not even needing what you do yet, but if other people are talking about you, that’s an impression, and that’s worth a lot, but you just got it for free.

We remember the old marketing saw; it takes 15 to 20 impressions before people remember you. Well, use those impressions, use social media to build capital in people’s minds so that when they are ready to make a move or do something, they think about you, they remember you, and they remember hearing about you or seeing you in that mall.

That “virtual mall” is social media. If you aren’t there, you can’t be seen, you can’t be heard and no one is talking about you. Your competition is there and that is the worst case scenario is if you are not doing anything and your competition is.

My point is, it’s time to take social media seriously. It’s not funny or cute anymore to say “I’m not on Facebook.” Social media is now the fourth leg on the stool of a proper business. In other words, you wouldn’t throw away the accounting department or you wouldn’t throw away the HR department. Just know that you are not going to throw away the social media department because unlike other marketing, social media isn’t a campaign or a project, it’s a marathon, there is no sunset to it.

In other words, when you stop writing the postcards or you stop running the ad in the paper it’s gone, it’s done. Social media is an everyday event and if you are not doing it, someone else is. So that’s it, it’s time to take social media seriously. If you don’t have the time or the know-how, then maybe we can work together.

Darren Slaughter is the founder and president of DarrenSlaughter.com, a digital agency focusing on website design, social media management, and content creation for home improvement contractors.