In his book,”The Thank You Economy,” Social Media Champion and Wine Library entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk makes the case for engaging customers through authentic conversations in social media. I just finished it and it is a fairly quick read. Some of the book’s key points might be considered “no-brainers” to seasoned marketing/public relations and social media pro’s. However, some professional business people still fail to see the benefits of the two way conversation that the new economy provides.  Vaynerchuk calls Chapter Three “Why Smart People Dismiss Social Media, and Why They Shouldn’t.” He outlines 11 excuses company’s use for not taking part in social networking. Do you see anyone you know in any of these excuses?

1- There’s no ROI– Gary argues that because word of mouth is so strong all companies should be thrilled at this opportunity to gain advocates.

2. The metrics aren’t reliable– Actually the tools for tracking success are getting much better and sure beat the old ways of advertising (remember throwing against the wall and hoping it will stick?)

3. Social media is still too young– “The longer you hesitate the more you will struggle,” says Gary who compares diving into social networking with his 11th hour decision to gain friends in high school senior year. He says the students who started out making friends freshman year were more popular and had more invested.

4. Social media is just another trend that will pass– As Gary points out that’s what they said about radio, TV and oh, yes the internet too!

5. We need to control our message– As he points out companies rarely sink under the weight of one Facebook post. Ongoing customer service is the key.

6. I don’t have time to keep track of what every Joe or Jane says, and I can’t afford /don’t want to pay someone else to do it. Gary says do not dismiss any customer or what he/she says because the power now rests with them.

7. We’re doing fine without it. Really? How do you know?

8. We tried it; it doesn’t work. As Gary says, social media is a long-term commitment and requires patience, commitment and strategy.

9. The legal issues are too thorny– He says that a company “should reflect the DNA of its leader, not its lawyers.”

10. It takes too long to pay off– He calls social media “a marathon” and says you cannot reach the finish line “without patience and determination.”

11. Social media works only for start-up, lifestyle, or tech brands. Gary says regardless of the size of your business social media allows you to “take your business to its fullest potential.”

Do you know people who still dismiss social media without seeing it as a valued communications strategy? Or do the business people you know see it as an ideal way to communicate and thank  their customers for their business?

As a side note Gary Vaynerchuck is scheduled to speak in Greeneville, Tenn. in June. If I’m in town, I will definitely be there!

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