Social Media: “No one uses that!”

Rosamond was talking with the marketing person at an electronics store about some of the social media available to them. “Let’s put you into Gowalla and Foursquare,” she said, “and then you can Tweet–“

“That’s stupid,” the marketer said firmly, “No one uses that!”

Rosamond is good with diplomatic responses to statements like this, so I’m sure she was courteous, but I know what was going through her mind.

  1. More than two million people use Foursquare.  Gowalla doesn’t have quite that many users yet, but it’s still more people than the number of readers of this marketer’s local newspaper.
  2. An electronics store is very likely to have among its customers lots of people who like gadgets. These people are very likely to check their phones and look for electronics stores. Many of them have completely given up things like local newspapers in favor of phone-based sources of information.
  3. Twitter and Facebook are both primary sources of information for the demographic that shops in electronics stores, and also for their moms, primary shoppers for electronic gadgets at this time of year.Gowalla and Foursquare both work very well with Twitter and Facebook, which work very well together. Both Twitter and Facebook have enough people involved in them to make respectable countries (Facebook is only behind India and China, while Twitter is a bit smaller than Brazil).

I don’t want to say that the marketing person was stupid. I will say that it’s short sighted to dismiss new ideas just because they’re new. Social media is no longer a new idea–except to people who have decided to ignore it.

If you think that “no one” uses social media, you’re clearly wrong. If you think that no one except teenagers uses it, you’re at the very least out of date.

Should you use social media?

  • If your population is there, yes. Go find out whether people are talking about your subject.
  • If you want to be established already when your population arrives, yes. Businesses now wishing for time machines envy you.

That doesn’t mean that you have to use all the social media channels around. Gowalla and Foursquare may not be right for you; if nothing else, you can’t expect to use every social media outlet effectively at the same time unless this is a primary focus for your company or organization.

A solid social media plan allows you to make the most of your social media investment.

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