Nobody is required to use social media. There are plenty of brands doing just fine without a blog, a Twitter account, or an official Facebook fan page. Just the same, there are plenty of successful brands who Tweet all day while having never sent a piece of direct mail.

And while there are lots of factors involved in determining your level of engagement in social media, remember that there are more opportunities at stake than just reaching your customers.

Influencers in social media to consider:

  • The mainstream media. More and more, journalists from mainstream media outlets rely on social media to find story leads and sources. If you’re not there connecting with these influencers, you may be missing opportunities to increase exposure and brand awareness.
  • Your industry’s analysts. Even if your customers aren’t online, your industry’s biggest influencers probably are. They’re the ones doing the deep research for their trade publications, their studies, and their newsletters — much of which takes place through social channels.
  • Your suppliers and strategic partners. If the people you rely on to deliver your gizmos to the market are online, there’s a good chance you should be too. These channels are where they’re first publishing their market research, unveiling their new technology, and making connections around industry innovations.

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8 Responses to “Andy’s Answers: Should I use social media even if my customers aren’t online?”

  1. So true. The vast majority of my “customers” are not involved in social media. I have introduced most of them to Twitter and LinkedIn and have had to educate them on the benefits of them. Many were already on Facebook, though. It's those people that I've always found interesting, as they many times have numerous friends on Facebook, but they haven't taken the time to setup a Page and promote it.

    The reality, in my opinion, is that these people that are not currently on social networks will be in the near future. If you aren't involved in the social networks when they join, but your competition is, you will lose the opportunity to impact that customer from their beginnings with social networks.

    I particularly liked your first point regarding journalists and the media. Though it may seem like a common sense observation, it wasn't something I had previously thought of. Thanks for putting that out there!

  2. It doesn't hurt. What's the worse that could happen? Growing your brand awareness so new/potential customers know you?

  3. elainefogel says:

    Good reasons to consider here, Andy. Thanks.

  4. An entire industry (B2B Microwave/RF) was void from social media. We guided a company I work for into it, and are building our netowork through welcoming the industry to Twitter and Facebook. We're slowly becoming a networking hub for the industry. It's hard to have more trust than a tour guide.
    Something I learned in the process. Don't be afraid to welcome, or even invite, your competition into the realm. They, like you, will bring their own fan-base, allowing you an opportunity to share your value with more people, and bring a few more chairs to the 140 character round table discussions.

  5. Not sure if there is such a thing as a customer that isn't online. (If there is; currently there won't be in the very near future.) And, I'm not really sure that I want a customer base that isn't online. Too limiting.

  6. romondodavis says:

    My philosophy is to publish content to as many relevant places as you have time to. The search engines will index that content and bring traffic to your social site, which will in turn send new visitors your website. The idea is to dominate the SERPs with your content from as many sources as possible, and push your competition below the fold and off page one.

  7. Mark Kilens says:

    So true Andy. It's sort of like six degrees of separation, everything and everyone is connected. Create great content and people will share it and you'll get even more prospects, customers, influencers, recommenders, etc., than you ever thought you could.

    Mark K.

  8. [...] Social media’s power goes beyond the customer There are plenty of good reasons for companies to venture into social media, even if their customers aren’t using a given network, writes Andy Sernovitz. Social networks can be powerful tools for connecting with influential people in your marketplace, he notes. Journalists, industry analysts and strategic partners are all beginning to rely on social media for information, providing a valuable opportunity to establish powerful connections, he argues.  SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Social Media [...]

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