Wake up, open your eyes and begin to face the facts, social media is here to stay. When I speak with businesses at networking events or just with clients in general about social media, I frequently hear, “But we don’t have the time to do social media.” That may seem true enough, but you MUST find the time! The bottom line is that business is all about people and relationships. Social media should not replace these personal face-to-face connections, it should act as a additional tool in deepening those relationships.

During tough economic times, lots of new careers and technologies emerge while old ones become obsolete and disappear. Technology makes it virtually impossible for today’s college students to depend on career stability and they MUST be able and willing to quickly and easily adapt to new skills. The same is true for those of us in so called established careers and businesses. Social media is not going away so you had better engage, get involved and stop making excuses!

Companies must implement social media in their marketing strategies or they will not be able to compete tomorrow. Social media has become the new word-of-mouth and could be considered “soft sell marketing” that works more like traditional PR in building relationships, trust and reputation. This social media-word-of-mouth marketing should not replace “hard sell marketing” that works as direct sales or more traditional media like print, radio and TV advertising.

Social media can’t be squeezed into a one-size-fits-all program and content along with strategy are more important than what platform is used, whether itโ€™s Facebook, your corporate blog or Twitter. What is so unique about social media is that you can monitor what is being said about your brand or company online and respond instantly. Social media gives you the power to listen to your customer and really understand what they want.

Instead of “pushing” your message on your audience, social media allows you to “listen” to the feedback from people who are responding to your viral outreach. This means addressing any complaints, as well as the reviews and compliments you may receive. This instant communication also gives you the opportunity to adapt your marketing strategy based on that feedback.

Stop thinking of social media as a “waste of time” and instead “find the time” to invest in the most cost-effective market research and customer service program available to you today!