Why Your Business Needs Social Media

Social MediaImage courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, MySpace and on and on. The list of Social Media options continues to grow in direct proportion to their ability to keep adding features. It’s no wonder many boomer aged business owners are just burying their heads in the sand and hoping it will all go away. Go away it won’t, change it will.

Gen Y

The big driver in all of this social media activity is the current crop of 16-28 year olds born between 1982-1994 and affectionately known as GenY. This cohort has grown up around computers and cell phones and is far more technically adapt than the Baby Boomers who created most of the hardware supporting these new technologies.

The Boomers have been credited with many changes, both good and bad, in our society but this may pale in comparison to the impact Gen Y will have. Depending on the statistics, it is estimated that, at minimum, the Gen Y equal the number of Boomers! So imagine for a moment how this group is going to shape the future of your business. The leading edge of this group is just now heading into their major spending years and just like the Boomers before them they will be buying houses, furniture, accessories, cars, etc.  And guess where they are getting most of their referrals, recommendations and information? Answer, Social Media! This group is not shy about publicly asking and giving business and service recommendations in these open forums and if you’re not visible, you’re going to be left behind!

Social Media

Now I’m not suggesting you need to become an expert at all the social media options out there, but you should have a working knowledge of these platforms. A natural place to start is with your existing clients to determine what they are using and then learn a little about it. The next step is a little more difficult. You need to figure out what your future clients are using and try to gain a little insight. Just remember that the Gen Y’s loyalty to any one platform will be fleeting and what is in vogue today will most likely become passé in a few years time. However, by understanding today’s favourite, you will get more comfortable in the environment.

Need help getting started? Well, before you run out and hire a social media expert, I suggest you look a little closer to home to enlist some help, especially if you have any Gen Y children or employees. Ask them to give you a crash course on the various platforms they are using. While you’re at it ask them why they prefer one over the other. Although you may ultimately need a social media expert to develop a comprehensive strategy, having a working knowledge beforehand just makes sense.

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2010

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5 Responses to Why Your Business Needs Social Media

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Why Your Business Needs Social Media | Greg Weatherdon's Blog

  2. You are so right Greg. Social media and emerging mobile technology is being adopted by this group and is creating profound changes. For B2b, we’ve started noticing that business owners are having their younger employees do the research and make recommendations. They are influential and cannot be ignored. The websites that we are building and refreshing now have a social component to them as well as being accessible through mobile devices. 13.5 million Canadians have an active Facebook account. Smart phones are being purchased at a record clip. Businesses can no longer, as you say, bury their heads in the sand.

    • says:

      Thanks for your comments Richard. When you think that 50% of businesses don’t yet have a web site, I can only imagine what the social media numbers look like. Until the Gen Y are running these companies I believe that number will stay low.

  3. Stuart Trier says:

    Hi Greg,

    Nice post. Good advice on getting a crash course in Social Media before going out and enlisting the help of an expert.

    I would suggest using a few examples of ways in which business owners and managers can use the social media to engage their potential customers.


    1) I currently work for a Health Care Company with Clinics in various cities. I have set up tweetdeck to listen for tweeters that are sick, or complain of a cold in that city. Using a program like tweetdeck I engage with them, invite them to our clinic if they need to see a doctor, and wish them a speedy recovery. Easy and effective.

    2) I’ve seen other good uses at boutique hotels. Listening for people arriving in the city and looking for advice on places to stay. They use that as an opportunity to engage with their potential customers. Invite them down to their place, offer a deal, advice on what to see while in town.

    In any case great post, i will favorite your blog and come back.

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