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Social Media Is Like a Credit Card

Date: November 1, 2013
Chris Lee

One of the questions I ask attendees of our seminars is: "Do you work for social media or do you make social media to work for you?"

Let me explain.

Social media is like a credit card. Example: you can use a credit card all you want and as long as you pay off the balance before the due date, you have essentially received a free short-term loan for about 30 days. Continue to pay off the balance each month, and you continue to receive that free short-term loan. It's a perfect case of making credit cards work for you.

However, if you neglect to make your payment by the due date, you will begin to accrue finance charges.  You will then pay interest and penalties which will quickly add up.  In that situation, you now work for the credit card companies in order to pay for all the additional interest and finance charges.

Social media is exactly like this. Except it's not finance charges; it's your time.  Time is money --- and your time is valuable. Too many people forget that.

There is a great website here that will tell you how many keystrokes you have left remaining in your life.  Think about that before you type another keystroke in yet another Facebook or Twitter comment box.

Making social media work for your business

Unfortunately, many people confuse and incorrectly mix personal social media with business social media. Yes, it can be fun sharing photos and interesting stories with friends and family. But rarely is sharing on social media an effective use of your business resources and time.  Besides, most of your customers just don't care as much about your business or your interests as you think they do.

To make social media work more effectively for your business, then you need to be directing traffic and business back to your website, where it belongs. Your website is the place where your customers find out about your services, contact you, and remains the most valuable piece of real estate for your business. The benefits are increased traffic, exploration of your services, and discoverability of your product.

For example, say you find an interesting article on CNN. Your first inclination might be to share that article to your Facebook "friends" via your Facebook account. Well, um, remember, it's actually not your Facebook account.  Your pages, photos, and all content you put there is owned and managed by a 3rd party company that, last time I checked, doesn't pay your bills or keep your lights on. So, from a business perspective, what is the point of spending your valuable time giving them all this free content? I mean, seriously, how will posting on someone else's site, directing readers from that site to yet another 3rd party site, actually help grow your business? And, even if the article is popular and a number of "friends" or followers comment on the article, how exactly how will that translate into paying customers? Surprise: It won't.

So, back to the example of that article of interest on CNN: a better way to do this would be to write up a short post or article yourself in which you present your business perspective on that particular topic you found interesting enough to share. Then, publish the article on your own web site (where it belongs) and use the free social media accounts to simply link back to it.  Thus, any of your followers or friends will see the topic of interest, and visit your website to read the interesting article that you wrote. Win-win.  You are not spending your time publishing free content to another company's social media site. Rather, you are using social media's free benefits to send traffic (and hopefully business) back to your own site. 

Yes, it takes effort and more work to write a few paragraphs yourself and publish to your site. But it's well worth it.

Social media companies already have enough money and enough content. You need to get back to focusing on publishing to your own website.  And investing your money and time (same thing, by the way) back into your own business. Contact us today if you need an easier way to update your website!

A privately-held corporation headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Rikter Corporation is comprised of a growing team of design and engineering consultants that lead engagements and develop technologies throughout the United States and around the world.  The company’s business philosophy is one that thrives on design challenges and on meeting diverse project specifications on-time and within budget.

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