I’m always amazed that interns at my company can do so much with the web. I’m even more amazed at the limitations social media has put on young aspiring entrepreneurs and how it hinders the necessary fundamentals to start a business.
If you want to open a B2C (Business to Consumer) company, than yes, social media helps. In B2C, social media is necessary because the “C” element is all on social media. However, in B2B (Business to Business) models, social media is not needed as much.
What is the basis of my argument?
Decision makers of companies are on average much older than even I, thus they find Facebook confusing, frustrating, or consider it a kid’s game because their teenage daughter plays with it on the car ride to school.
Therefore, no real decision maker has the time to go and look up your Facebook page. If it weren’t for my writing, etc., I would not have learned social media either.
Plus, if you’re selling to another business, use of social media is looked down upon or considered to be recreation in today’s corporate culture.
As a whole, technology is specifically geared towards those who are the kids of decision makers, so they can harass their parents to buy the product, hence the B2C appeal.
Facebook ads are the new obnoxious Saturday morning breakfast cartoon commercials, grown up with the generation that used to pester its parents for the toys advertised during Nicktoons.
When you’re in start-up mode, I recommend that you focus on your website rather than your Twitter profile or Facebook page. The VPs and higher don’t care how cool a timeline is; they want results.
1. The Phone Also Makes Calls
Sales is essential to any healthy business. This means cold-calling until you get the corporate branding that leads your customers straight to you (it doesn’t work the other way around).
The lack of socialization I’ve seen from younger people due to social media is not staggering because they can still speak. The ability to persuade and sell comes from practice and most below a certain age don’t have it. Until your brand is recognized to the point where the customer is beating down your door, you need to be chasing that individual.
Yes, social media is a good tool to find them, especially in B2C, but finding them takes simply a minute. Selling them and coming across in a professional manner is a whole different story.
The only way that people gave me a chance when starting my business is that I tracked them down, cold-called them and sold them. I was able to sell them because they believed in me. The same method is so rarely used by intelligent people that young entrepreneurs have an even greater advantage over their peers than I did… if they are willing to deal with others.
2. “There” Vs. “Their” vs. “?”
Social media’s entire point is to connect people as quickly as possible and make it as seamless as possible for them to connect (the more connections = increased advertising accuracy). Therefore, you can have an hour-long conversation without writing a sentence longer than any in this article.
Short sentences in and of themselves are great. It’s the shortened words common to social media that damage young aspiring entrepreneurs’ credibility.
Writing skills are the foundation of effective marketing and those hanging out on Facebook and texting lack the ability, among other issues, to persuasively write, which is necessary to start a company.
Next time you’re on Facebook talking about how cool your business idea is, consider the following:
3. Little Education, High Compulsion, Low Return On Investment
Social media is really addictive because it’s fun. I was given some cool access on Google+ and for literally a day (12 hours) played on the site until I self-imposed a ban on social media from my browser for a few days unless work related.
The programmers and marketers at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., are more intelligent than you can 99.9999% know. Essentially, it’s their job to keep you on their site. The more often you look at the pair of shoes advertised, statistically the more likely you are to buy that product.
If you like Facebook, Twitter and social media sites so much, study how they advertise and the businesses behind them; it is a great education and the research will be helpful to any entrepreneur.
4. What About Networking?
When you’re on a social media site (let’s use LinkedIn) browsing all the people who can help you with your business, you save your money buying contact packages until you can help them with a problem. Otherwise, you’re just one of the many random people who are out in cyber space selling a commodity no better than the next person’s.
I don’t recommend “networking” for anyone until they have something to bring to the table.
Hone your skills to where the prospective contacts need you before you go and ruin a bunch of contacts, as they won’t answer your duplicate InMail without a compelling reason for their own benefit.
Look at the bright side. If you’re a young entrepreneur and you take the time to learn the key fundamentals of entrepreneurship (which I consider to be sales, marketing and good old fashioned work ethic), then you can Tweet from your yacht 7 days a week about how you once read an article telling you that you could be wealthier than 99.9999% of Facebook junkies.
Image courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa