Are You A Social Media Snob Or A Non-Believer?

I had an amusing experience last week where I was discussing with my friends how we were addicted to social media and how hanging out with people who weren’t on it was causing problems – of snobbery.

Ok so that may be a little over the top, but it’s kind of true. As I took a photo of us over lunch on my iPhone, then posted it to Facebook and tweeted about it, I realized I was a minority.

Despite the fact that the growth of Twitter is astounding with 145 million accounts now, research earlier in the year showed of that only 15% of those are actually active.

Back in January when Twitter had `just’ 75 million accounts, 25% of those had no followers, and 40% had never sent out a single Tweet according to RJMetrics.

Facebook statistics on the other hand actually account for their number of active users which is currently over 500 million, even if their sign up rate appears to be slowing. Yet how many of the functions within Facebook do you actually use on a daily basis or know even exist?

How social media savvy are you?

Are you creating lists as you add friends to ensure you can choose which updates you want them to see – as in true friends vs clients? Are you limiting some of your photo albums to just friends and excluding those you have set up on a limited profile? Then you’re on the right track.

If you have set up a Facebook page and have added applications to extend its functionality then congrats – you’re well passed Social Media 101. If you know how to work with Facebook Markup Language then join the geek ranks!

But do you know who the real `power’ users are these days behind the largest demographic of 26-34 year olds? 55 year old women.

Yes that’s right your mother, aunt and grandma are quite likely to be more proficient on Face book then you are! The reason? They’re looking to stay in touch and keep up with your life as you post photos and updates.

The Social Media Skeptics

Coming back to my snob theme, I realized the reason why I am baffled when I meet people who flat out say Twitter is stupid and they don’t understand it. It’s because as an early adopter I’ve been immersed in this platform and all its potential for a long time now. Yet just 12 months earlier I thought the exact same thing as them.

I generally start asking a few probing questions and realize that they just can’t visualize how it would be applied to what they do, whether they’re an artist, an electrician, a professor or a dog walker.

Yet I can see every possibility for not only how Twitter can benefit them, but how they can have a richer life for using it, and potentially some fantastic leads, referrals and even sales.

Endless opportunities

The amazing people I’ve met as a result of using Social Media and the opportunities it’s given me and many others can’t be denied. Plus the power it has to transform your business is beyond belief.

Plus there are real-life examples appearing daily of small and large businesses making money and increasing sales with social media. It is here to stay and any business that doesn’t believe that, and refuses to get on board will not survive.

You must learn to love it, just like I do. Maybe a little too much I admit.

In fact my friends now say when we’re hanging out together `Are you going to tweet that out Nat?’. Some even go so far as to say `Is that photo going to end up on Facebook right now, don’t tag me!’.

During this lunchtime discussion with my friends we started discussing my imminent move to Buenos Aires when I blurted out “Didn’t you see my blog post on it? I’ve been tweeting about it too, it could even be a trending topic!”

The conversation then went something like this:

Friend 1: I thought I saw something about you leaving in my newsfeed
Friend 2: I didn’t catch it on Twitter?
Me: Yeah it’s pretty exciting. I’m leaving Canada at the end of the month after I’ve run some more Social Media bootcamps here in Vancouver which I’m loving.
Friend 1: Awesome. What an adventure. Did you see my latest video on YouTube? It’s had 2,000 views.
Me: No! Wow that’s amazing.
Friend 1: What do you mean no? I tumbled it too. I think I’ll have 100,000 subscribers by mid next year at this rate.
Friend 2: That’s huge. Hey have you got a recommendation for the best split screen software for video?
Me: I know for MACs the best is ECamm and for PC I’ve going to trial Applian. Ooooh and I installed the latest Beta version of Skype for Windows 7 and it does group video calling. Very cool.

We will leave it there as we went on to discuss and share a myriad of cool tools we were using or trying but you get the gist.

The difference between those who dabble and those who fully adopt is purely a desire to try it out. An addiction even to wanting to learn all there is to know about integrating these tools into their daily life and business activities.

Social Media is not rocket science

As I’ve said before it’s not rocket science but it is a lot of work and it takes time. Sometimes it feels like you’re trying to maintain hundreds of relationships online and deepening those bonds offline. Imagine though how extensive your network can become and how enriching those relationships can be.

I ran my first ever WomanzWorld Social Media Bootcamp last week with eight fantastic attendees from a variety of businesses and varying levels of social media savvyness.

I’d spent a lot of time, energy and love transposing the wealth of knowledge I’ve accumulated over the last few years into presentations. All the trials and errors, all the miserable failures and great successes, all packaged into entertaining slides that broke social media down into manageable chunks.

The top 5 tools for business: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress made easy – or at least somewhat more fathomable with step by step exercises to really get the solid foundation needed.

There it was, on show on the large screen, amplified by the projector, and being soaked up during an intense two day bootcamp. I never realized how much I knew and applied every day until I started getting questions from my attendees like:

“But why should I use Twitter?”
“What’s a hashtag anyway?”
“Can you explain what you mean by an RSS feed?”
“How do I find the embed code for my video again?”
“Did I install the application on my Facebook Page because I’m not seeing it?”
“So how do I post a question on LinkedIn”

I have to say everyone who attended was a rockstar, especially when it came to setting up the Twitter application Hootsuite and for seven of them – their first ever blog. I was amazed at the speed with which they got to grips with every tool.

I’d like to think it was my friendly and relaxed teaching style ;)  and the way we went over what the tool was for, best practice, etiquette, business case examples and then step by step set up.

But it’s also because a lot of these tools have spent years making their interface easy to use, intuitive and in many cases similar to each other so it starts to come naturally.

For the more advanced users in my bootcamp there was always more to uncover within each platform to extend their knowledge and give them the edge.

Plus there are several tools and tricks that I covered to make people pick it up a lot more quickly, and the number of `Ah has’ in the room or `Wow that’s a cool tool’, or `I didn’t know that, that’s nifty’ made me smile.

I’ve realized that while I’m not expert, I’m constantly learning and applying. What’s more I love passing on that knowledge to make your life easier and make sense of it all plus come up with great ideas for using these incredible tools and strategies for ongoing success.

I’m looking forward to profiling the outcome of these `bootcampers’ over the coming months as I carry on with ongoing coaching for a few months.

One of the key parts of the bootcamp is offering this, as I know what it’s like when you go to a workshop and walkout knowing more than before but wondering how you’re going to put that into practice.

Any great personal trainer should know that ongoing encouragement, motivation and exercises are what’s needed to really build Social Media goddesses (and Gods).

Interested in attending one of my upcoming WomanzWorld Social Media Bootcamps? Check out full details, dates and locations (yes I’m taking this bootcamp on a tour!) and register here http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/social-media-bootcamp/.

  • Ekaterina

    It took me time to understand how Twitter works and the purpose of it. Not surprised that there is so many accounts and so little active users. =)

  • http://www.luxuria-jewellery.com Vanessa@Luxuria

    I only started with Twitter and FB two months ago, and am really utilizing it every day now. In fact my husband says I’m addicted. I haven’t seen any increase in sales yet, but I am hoping it’s still early days. As it’s all about building relationships first, I’m hoping the rewards come later. I really read up on both before venturing forward, as I knew one public mistake could prove very costly. And I’m so glad I did take the time to read around the topic. Haven’t used LinkedIn yet; still considering this one.

  • Natalie

    Hi Vanessa. Thanks for your comment and great to get a visitor from Sevilla, Spain. Welcome! Are you using Twitter to offer discounts of your products with a Twitter only code or a link to a landing page just for them? This may be a good experiment to try. Or if they tweet something out about your company with your website, and a hash tag for your business that they go in the draw to win a gift certificate?
    LinkedIn is hugely valuable for making the right relationships and engaging in conversations with your target market. Just by doing so they’re likely to take interest in you and click on your links to your website and even become a customer.

  • Natalie

    I think a lot of that inactive account activity comes from people trying out new things and not coming back to it. Inherently we’re a lazy bunch so if you don’t get it straight off then I can see why you’d not come back to it.
    Or I also know that several people open accounts with their business or brand name or even just their name to reserve it so someone else doesn’t grab it. It’s a good idea to do if you have plans for future launches.

  • Kay

    Glad to hear we Baby Boomers are using modern technology.
    My understanding is that women over 50 are joining Facebook because they are looking for a community to belong
    to. More worryingly, large numbers of women are doing nothing but play games such as Farmville – no wonder most don’t understand the benefits Social Media!

  • Natalie

    Great point Kay. I didn’t mention that fact, Farmville is something I have never played nor will I. I totally get that having fun on Facebook is a necessity but people spend hours hanging out on these crazy applications instead of soaking up the wealth of information on the pages they’ve `liked’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarketingPsych Larina Kase

    Great article, and site, thanks Natalie. I’m becoming a social media convert– resisted it for a while for fear of spending too much time. After starting a FB page I’ve begun to really enjoy the interaction. Just liked your page :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/JUHLiSELBySocialMedia JUHLi SELBy

    Hello! I just discovered your site. Thank you for all of the fantastic information. Your passion for helping others shows. I wanted to make a comment on this article–you say that that businesses that refuse to get on board with social media will not survive. I respectfully disagree.

    I am a huge fan of social media & believe there is a ton of opportunity for business. But I also believe that social media tools are not right for every business. I also believe that if a business owner doesn’t have the time, or the budget to hire someone to keep their social media up to date, it’s better that they don’t do it at all. Just my two cents!

    JUHLi SELBy

  • Natalie

    Hi Julie

    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. You definitely have a point and I’m glad you stated your opinion. I’d be keen to know which businesses you think wouldn’t benefit as much from using it? I entirely agree it is more appropriate for some businesses, but I think it applies to any business.

    A little like email that everyone thought was a fad that wouldn’t survive, Social Media is here to stay. What’s more you can learn a few of the key tools and use them really wisely without taking up too much time. If an owner of a business is not spending 50% of their time marketing it then they’re likely having a a tough time. I view these free social media tools as an amazing marketing opportunity especially if integrated.

    What’s more there are plenty of free interns available who are more than willing to delve into social media, or are already using it that small businesses can hire. Although I’m a strong advocate that the key messaging, conversation and personal touch should come from the brand owner.

    I think as we see more solid results of businesses – small and large, using social media and succeeding, many of which I showcase in my bootcamp, more people will view social media as a wise investment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JUHLiSELBySocialMedia JUHLi SELBy

    Hello Natalie,

    Thank you kindly for such a prompt reply to my comment. I agree with you that social media tools CAN benefit any type of business (though it is naturally more suited to some types of businesses than others, as you pointed out). I absolutely agree that social media is not a fad, and will only continue to grow. I spread the love & joy of social media to anyone who will listen!

    I just don’t think it’s fair to say a business will not survive if they don’t jump on the social media bandwagon. It might be more realistic to say — those who start using social media tools can benefit greatly in many ways.

    If social media tools are not understood & used reasonably well, then it may be best to not do it at all. It takes a commitment of time, energy & thought to learn to use the “free” tools, to present your company/brand positively. Even with the help of a capable intern, the business owner/manager still needs to be involved. Your bootcamp sounds like a great place to start!

  • http://www.outoftheofficeadministration.com Myra Horner

    Natalie – have you thought about doing your seminars via webinar’s or are you already and I missed that? I have to admit I just came across your site after reading a blog on ForbesWoman web site so I may have missed if you are. I am a Virtual Assistant, with a particularly strong niche working with Coalitions and Associations as their Project Coordinator. While I can see how vital Social Media is to business entrepreneur, I must admit I struggle knowing how to make my posts interesting! :)

    Thanks!

  • Natalie

    Hi Myra

    Welcome and so glad you came to visit. Yes that’s exactly what I’m doing actually so stay tuned.

    The online version will be available 1 October.

    I can also add your email to the special pre launch list if you’d like for earlybird announcements!

  • http://www.securitycamera-ny.com/ camera-ny

    so great

  • https://plus.google.com/+Intercomrepairny/about?hl=en ryan

    The problem I think mark is that social is sold as a marketing tool. if
    people wrote books and gave talks that said ‘Improve internal
    communications to save money and add to your bottom line’ they get
    crickets