Your business is stranded. More customers would definitely help. So you put a message in a bottle and send it off to sea.

The bottles are various mediums.  Social media.  TV.  Radio. Direct mail.  Whatever.

They’re an important piece but they won’t matter if the person who finds it can’t understand your message.  Maybe you aren’t speaking their language.  Maybe they can understand it but you don’t tell them the right stuff. You say you’re stranded (we’re open for business) and that you need their help for rescue (please do business with us) but you don’t tell them how to do that or give them a compelling reason to do so.  Maybe they respond but you aren’t listening when they do.  Striking the correct balance in the conversation isn’t always easy.  The temptation to broadcast and assert yourself is an attractive siren that can turn on you.  Social media is a welcome addition but it comes with a catch.

There’s a lot of hullabaloo about social media.  So much so that it seems like that’s the only thing left to discuss judging by the headlines.  I’m a huge proponent of crafting a cohesive social media strategy for your business.  Social media is a remarkable platform by which to manage and nurture customer relationships.  Your whole business is about rich relationships.  I’m a big, big fan.  The trouble is that social media is just that, media. It’s a medium by which to carry the message and further the conversation, the meat of the relationship.  Social media is indisputably advantageous as a medium positioned for relationship leverage compared to television, for example, because of its reciprocal nature. However, just like radio and television give you incredible reach, you’re holding your own head under water if you act like an uninformed, uninspired schlock.  Social media is no different.  The message, the quality of the conversation, is paramount.

Social media isn’t going to usher you into business heaven.  Who you are and how well your identity and value resonate with your customers will always be the most important piece to your marketing strategy regardless of what evolution takes place in traditional or online media.  The deliver systems will forever evolve.  If this ever ceases to be then come find me and I’ll eat crow.  Until then, continue to pursue excellence in your various media outlets of choice, including social media, but do so with an inspired and meaningful identity and story, not at the expense of one.  All of your relationships will be bolstered and your efforts will be compounded by being a better version of your already incredible self.