Social Media is a Fad Right?

While having a conversation with several small business owners one of them asked a question that left me somewhat speechless.

Social media is a fad right?

The question appeared sincere on the surface but there was an underlying nervousness that told me this wasn’t the true nature of what I was being asked.  It was more “Please tell me social media is a fad and my business will be okay if I ignore it.”

Everyone knew what social media was and were quite aware of how widespread it had become.  They weren’t sure how it could benefit their operations.

It isn’t that most small business owners think this online social movement is a fad.  They are just unsure how to use it and how to integrate social media into their operations.  Many lack the necessary expertise and resources required to have a social strategy.  In fact, many of them struggle with having an online presence period!

Here’s the bad news for some.  Social Media is not a fad.

Facebook has reached over 750 million active users.  Twitter has over 200 million users.   Google Plus is approaching 30 million users.   LinkedIn has more than 120 million users.  People watch over 3 billion videos a day on YouTube.  There’s an estimated 200 million blogs publishing content.

Simply put, this is a revolution.

There is no way any business can sit and hope to ride this craze out.  Social media is here to stay.

Social media changes how people find and interact with businesses.  It provides a competitive advantage by placing the small business in the same arena as its customers and becomes a way to have conversations with customers.

I’ve said this many times.  Social media allows you to build relationships and it’s the relationship that will “sell” the business.

Take a moment and think about why you buy from certain businesses.

Typically we buy from companies we like.   Small mom and pop operations at one time thrived in local markets because their expertise was well known in the local area.  Everyone knew the butcher, barber, TV repairman and the mechanic.

Customers trusted these businesses to provide value for money spent and fix it when things went wrong.

As business models evolved, things changed.

Larger companies needed to move into local markets to sustain their growing operations.  They offered lower prices for the same products and services as the local mom and pop shops.

Some of these couldn’t compete with the new competition but others not only survived but they thrived.  Why?  Because customers trusted them more.

These operations were known for listening to their customers and being engaging.  They didn’t necessarily offer the best price but they offered the best service and were known for being their when needed by their customers.

It was the ongoing and meaningful relationship that created a sense of trust.

Social media allows all businesses, not just the small business, to interact with customers at time convenient for them.  It has evolved into a natural extension of real world relationships and extends the trust relationship beyond the boundaries of the traditional brick and mortar operation.

This is why social media is important for the small business because social media is about relationships.

My answer for the individual who asked “Social media is a fad right?”

I didn’t answer his question.  We just sat, had a few beers, talked about business, why we started doing what we did and the differences we had made in people’s lives.  We talked about some highs and some lows we had both experienced and how we dealt with making things right for our customers.

Social media was far from our minds.

At the end of the night he was asked why I had ignored his question.  I smiled and said “I didn’t.  Think about what we talked and tell me if you think social media is still a fad.”

Everyone got the point I was making.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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6 Responses to Social Media is a Fad Right?

  1. Sire says:

    Social media is definitely not a fad and while a business will not fall apart from not using it they will not be as profitable as they could be were they to use social media in such a way that it will benefit their business.

    This means not going onto social media sites simply to promote their business. That will turn people away. It means they should have a presence where they a re helping people by providing useful information. That way when they throw in the occasional promotion people will be more likely to pay attention.

  2. Karen says:

    I cannot believe the number of people who look at me like I have two heads when I mention social media. It is going to be awhile before the majority of the population catches up.

    • Karen,

      That is so typical of the responses that I get. Most people are like … “social what?” … it makes me chuckle at times.

      They use some of the services every day and have no idea of its implications in the real world.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Barry

  3. Gary Kelly says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s a fad…. 🙂

    http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/09/02/20-stunning-social-media-statistics/

    20 Social Media Statistics

    One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ( This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)
    People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
    Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
    More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices
    More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook
    30 billion pieces of content is shared on Facebook each month
    300,000 users helped translate Facebook into 70 languages
    People on Facebook install 20 million “Apps” every day
    YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011)
    YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month (These YouTube stats don’t include videos viewed on phones and embedded in websites)
    Users on YouTube spend a total of 2.9 billion hours per month (326,294 years)
    Wikipedia hosts 17 million articles
    Wikipedia authors total over 91,000 contributors
    People upload 3,000 images to Flickr (the photo sharing social media site) every minute
    Flickr hosts over 5 billion images
    190 million average Tweets per day occur on Twitter (May 2011)
    Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day
    Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
    Google+ has more than 25 million users
    Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852 days)

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