You don’t like social media. You don’t ever want to use it. Okay, that’s a perfectly valid life choice. I’m not gonna judge you for it or try to convince you to use it. But! That does not absolve you from knowing the bare basics of social media. Why? Well, there are a few reasons:

  • You won’t embarrass yourself or your kids by calling it “the Facebook” (unless you want to embarrass your kids, in which case, go nuts)
  • Understanding how your business might use social media, in case one day you decide to
  • Knowing how these tools could hurt your business, even (or especially) if you don’t use them

Knowledge is power, so let’s get started.

Comparison table of key social media terms

You need to know the names of the biggest social networks–and the verbs that come with them. There is no better way to brand yourself as an easy mark for every Yelp or YellowPages advertiser than to say things like, “I’m not really on the Tweeter.” Commit these names to memory:

There are thousands of other social networks, but these are the big players right now. So now that we’re all speaking the same language, what else do you need to know? 

People can talk about you on social media–and you can’t stop them. One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to be on social media is that they’re afraid people will say bad things about them. That is a distinct possibility. However, even if you aren’t on any social networks whatsoever. Right now, it’s possible people are trash talking you on their personal Facebook page, are writing scathing Yelp reviews or are badmouthing you in a LinkedIn group. There is nothing you can do to stop it. By not being on social media, you are losing your chance to respond to those comments, but you are not preventing them. It’s just a modern reality.

Yes, your customer really is on social media. The second biggest reason people give me for not being on social media is that their customer isn’t there. I can tell you that statement is patently false. 72% of all adults who use the Internet use social networking. Social media use is higher among the young, but 43% of adults over 65 use social networking, a three-fold increase since 2009. Now, whether or not they use social media to find your products is another valid question, but I promise you, some not statistically insignificant portion of your population uses a social network. You can choose not to be there, but don’t pretend they aren’t there.

I hope this has helped shed some light on social media and demystified it a bit. If you have other questions, leave one in the comments below or use the contact form to send me an email, and I’ll be happy to help.