This month’s Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly column: Social media is a waste of time, right?

Social media is a waste of time, right?

If you think social media is a total waste of your organization’s resources, time and money, you might just be right.

That may sound strange coming from someone who’s in the social-media strategy business. However, your perspective about social media can make a huge difference. If you think social media won’t work for your business, it probably won’t.

How do you know you’re positioning your organization for failure? Well, do any of these comments sound familiar?

• Let’s start with Facebook. Yes, your customers are there — most of them, in fact — but why would they have any interest in what you have to say? And what would you ever say to them in the first place? Who really cares?

• Figuring out what to say isn’t even the worst part. What if someone wants to criticize your organization or hold you accountable for something you’ve said you’d do? You certainly don’t want that. It’s much better to keep them at arm’s length, isn’t it? After all, if you don’t give them an outlet, they won’t have any means of criticizing you, right?

• And what’s the deal with this Twitter thing? One hundred and forty characters at time — that’s it? What could anyone possibly say that would be worth reading? Surely no one ever found a new customer or made a sale that way.

• Oh, and don’t get me started on LinkedIn. I read something the other day (thanks, Kevin) that said many financial-services professionals have secured leads as a result of their time on LinkedIn. But honestly, how many leads are we talking about here? One? Five? Ten? Either way, not enough to retire on, I’d guess.

• Even that is better than — how do you pronounce it — “Pinterest”? Isn’t that a site for women? Who has time to shop all day? Even if I thought it was a good idea for my company, and I’m not saying it is, why do we need a Pinterest page when we have a website?

• Look what happened to MySpace—imagine if you had put any time or effort into that. Blogs take way too much time. It’s too hard to put together YouTube videos. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Here’s the thing: if you accentuate the positive when it comes to social media and give it the proper time and attention, you’ll probably get good results. Accentuate the negative, though, and what do you expect will happen? All of the negative perceptions will come true if you want them to, or if you act as if they already are. If you give it a chance, though, and you take it seriously — as seriously as anything else you think is worthy of an investment of resources — it can pay huge dividends.

You can continue to side with the naysayers, or you can do the more difficult thing: fight the nagging voices in your head that are holding you back and try to make it work. It’s your call.

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