Gary Vaynerchuk explains why small-business owners need to stop debating social media and start using it - SmartBrief

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Gary Vaynerchuk explains why small-business owners need to stop debating social media and start using it

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Social Media

If you’re not on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you need to get on for your business’ sake, Gary Vaynerchuk told business owners at America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

Vaynerchuk illustrated the necessity of this message when he asked the nearly full ballroom of attendees, “How many of you think Twitter is stupid?” and half of them raised their hands. Then similar numbers raised their hands to say they once thought cellphones and the Internet itself were stupid, but all admitted they use both today.

The arguments people are having about social media today are the same ones they had about those now-ubiquitous developments just 10 to 15 years ago, Vaynerchuk said. And arguing instead of getting on board is just a waste of time, he said. “Innovation doesn’t care about anyone,” it just flows on and will run you over if you don’t jump on and ride the wave.

It also isn’t helpful to disparage social media when you haven’t even tried it out. “I love it when people have a whole lot to say about Facebook and Twitter and they don’t even have an account,” said Vaynerchuk. “Shut your mouth!”

All business owners, he said, are just in one business: the attention business. Today, people’s attention is fragmented and harder than ever to capture. To get it, you have to use new methods and strategies; you have to use social media.

“People aren’t looking at billboards, they aren’t even looking at the freakin’ road anymore,” said Vaynerchuk, who admitted to using traditional advertising in the past and explained he believes it is grossly overpriced today.

Companies had it easy when they could take a broad-sweeping approach with billboards, newspaper ads and television commercials, but today, businesses have to work harder to reach out to individuals, Vaynerchuk explained. We’ve gone back to a small-town way of doing things, where the way you treat individual customers matters because they are going to tell others about the experience they’ve had with your business.

“We’re living in an era where word-of-mouth is on steroids,” he said. People aren’t just talking to their neighbors and the folks they run into around town; they’re talking to the world via social media.

If you’re finally ready to get your business on social media, take a deep breath and try to relax with the help of these four simple tips from Vaynerchuk.

  • Don’t worry about what you’re going to say; just get started and build from there.
  • Don’t focus on trying to win new customers, but instead on treating your existing customers well so you can keep them and inspire them to endorse your business.
  • Don’t obsess about ROI. There’s a certain amount of serendipity in word-of-mouth marketing, and the numbers don’t always tell the full story.
  • Don’t ignore what people are saying on Twitter. It’s a great source of information about what consumers like, think and do.