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Social Media – Aye or Nay?

It’s just a waste of time and moreover my industry is different, where customers aren’t on social media said a business owner, also a distant relative whom I met a few days ago. Not this alone, I have seen several businesses or business owners who have created their page or profile online, uploaded their logo and a few pictures too. And, then there is nothing which sends a clear message to people, they don’t know how to use social media, or they don’t have a plan, or they do not want to share their experiences. Also, as human beings we look for instant gratification and immediate results for everything we do. Unfortunately, building a community of fans or followers takes time. Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the biggest social media influencers invested several years into growing his personal brand by creating inspiring content, entertaining his audience through a wine show called, ‘Wine Library TV’ on Youtube. As a result, his family’s wine business grew from $3 million to $60 million. Six years later, in 2011, he started Vayner Media, a digital agency which provides social media strategy service to several Fortune 500 companies. Through his tweets, DM, videos, he obsessively created content through which he provided value to people on their entrepreneurial journeys without thinking of any vanity metrics. I surely believe he is a great ‘giver’ who shared his wisdom with so many of us.

Coming to India, Uday Kotak, CEO Kotak Mahindra Bank has about million followers on Twitter and so does Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group. The irony is lesser than one in five Indian CEOs are active on Linkedin or Twitter, a 2019 study has revealed. India’s richest man and head of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani is an investor in new-age internet business, Google, Facebook and many advance tech startups but he tops the list in the absentees on social media. Its surprising India’s biggest billionaires are role model’s who can inspire masses and add value to the social space but most of them shy from social media.

As per global social media statistics research summary 2022:

  • 57.6 % of the world’s population uses social media.
  • 85% of marketers rate short-form videos as the most effective type of social media content.
  • 45% of internet users research products on social media.
  • Linkedln is world’s largest professional network with 810 million members in more than 200 countries. There are 61 million senior-level influencers and 65 million decision makers.
  • Facebook is the most popular social network globally with 2.8 billion active users around the world. India leads with 320 million active users monthly. 81% of the brands prefer video marketing on Facebook.
  • Instagram has 90% of its users follow business profile. India tops the list again with 201 million user base. 83% of Instagram users use the platform to discover new products and services and 87% of people make a purchase after seeing product information.
  • 83% of world’s leaders are on Twitter and it has 211 million daily active users.

We do see celebrities and influencers using social media to boost their career. And, then there are CEO’s who are managing some of the world’s largest corporations using Facebook, Instagram and Linkedln. McMillion, Walmart’s CEO is the most connected CEO and has used this platform to represent the company and to let the world know what the day of a CEO looks like. He handles his digital platforms and only when his schedule is extremely busy, he takes help from Walmart’s social media team. He shares his personal stories, then stories of his employees and his learnings. One of the studies from Brunswick said that a common thing amongst most connected CEOs on social media was that all of them had an online biography, they had a plan to meaningfully engage with audiences and communication on social media from these CEOs has made an extremely positive impact on the company’s overall effectiveness.

Recently, at one of the business forums, I observed small businesses hesitate using social media and everyone had their own reasons. One said, ‘my customers are not on social media.’ In response to this, my colleague shared social media user statistics in India alone and how their competitors were using social media tools. I hope the smart insights would have changed his mind.

The other said only young people use social media and then we showed them research which said usage among those 65 and older has tripled in the last few years. Another said, using social media is too much of work. And, I said creating a Facebook page or posting on Instagram or creating a presence on Twitter does not cost anything. Yes, initially it can be challenging to find the right platform for yourself. In this case, ask yourself what you would like to accomplish, then come up with a plan to get there. Create content that is relevant, that excites, entertains, and drives engagement, upload pictures and compose posts each day. And, if you find it too much, hire a professional agency who can study your audience and help you create content that is suitable for your personal and company branding. They are experts and can guide you on how to get more traction on blogs, how to get more clicks on your downloadable content and how to drive enough engagement through your social media posts. Agencies also invest in acquiring premium software which provide actionable analytics and other valuable functions. This helps SME’s in reducing their cost and stay focused on their core business.

Today, social media is an integral part of our lives through countless websites and apps where people also connect with each other to share their thoughts, emotions, experiences, discuss favorite TV shows, alien conspiracy theories, social injustice, inequality, and policy issues.

Also, we all have friends who regularly post pictures of their fitness activities at the gym or crossing a 10k finish line or cycling and sharing their workout accomplishments. All of this not only motivates them, but their fitness posts are inspiring for others too. Personal posts like these and many others give a sense of who they are, what they care about and what are their areas of interest.

This is a never-ending discussion with business owners and I will keep listening to their reasons and obstacles. With no or little knowledge, results will come at their pace, and we may feel it’s not worth the effort. This is where we either train ourselves or pay to an outside resource to manage our social media accounts. The fact is, often when we have achieved a certain level of success in our personal and professional lives where we are comfortable, then moving to social media is a space in which could be uncomfortable.

Roy T. Bennett rightly said, ‘change begins at the end of your comfort zone.’ So ask yourself, can I step out of my comfort zone and do a mini course on social media, can I do some research on the online presence of my business and competitors, can I change my perspective and show up with confidence on social media. List down people you follow on social media, what do you like most about them and their posts.

Yes, I know presenting ourselves online is quite similar to presenting ourselves on stage. The spotlight is going to be on ‘US’ when we post something. It’s not going to be perfect initially, you will have to practice to consistently show up. 

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