Friends and Fans and Followers, Oh My!

There seems to be two social media camps emerging in the marketing/public relations world. Camp Go For It! and Camp I Don’t Have Time For This! can be found in every office nook and cranny defending their positions.

So what’s a good business executive/entrepreneur to do? (Check out this ReadWriteWeb post on degrees of social media usage.)

The same thing your predecessor did when the Internet was born. Or how about when that newfangled box, the television, came to be? The radio?

The truth – as is usually the case – I believe lies somewhere in the middle. Marketing and PR professionals didn’t stop reaching out to print media when the first radio the size of a Volkswagen took up floor space in Grandma’s  living room. And companies today still advertise on TV and radio, despite the numerous banner and pay-per-click online advertising opportunities.

So what’s the deal with social media? Will those tried-and-true traditional media tools we’ve gotten so comfortable with really go away if you dare to Tweet?

Hang on to your blanket, Linus.

Social media is not the end-all of all other media. It’s another tool (See our Social Media Workshop) in the arsenal of marketing and public relations. And it’s not as hard to figure out as you might think. You still need an effective strategy, which means knowing your objective, your target audience (see Writing Still Counts post) and how you (or your business) will measure success.

And that, my friends, many of you already know how to do. So this newfangled idea that all the kiddies are jumping on is not something for you to fear. That scary blue bird is not going hold you upside down and shake you mercilessly until your lunch money falls to the pavement.

But it is worth paying attention to. Just as we all discovered with the Internet, you’re only going to get more comfortable with it the more you use it. And just like when you opened your first e-mail account, it’s not going to hurt.

You might even have fun and meet new faces. (That’s called networking, another not-so-new concept.)

And the best part: you now have one more tool to offer your business or client (see Mayo Clinic social media campaign). It’s doesn’t have to be an either/or strategy. As you already have learned, the most successful marketing/PR strategies utilize multiple media – print, TV, radio, Internet and now (gulp) social media.

So take a deep breath, Linus, and fold up your blankey. Have Mom put it in a safe place (I recommend the top shelf in your bedroom closet, where you can get to it quickly in an emergency) and find your nearest computer/laptop/iPhone/Blackberry.

And most importantly, welcome to Web 2.0 – we’ve been missing you!

(Thanks to mightyb for the photo!)

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