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Within the marketing industry the term social media is now widely accepted and used on a daily basis. People clump together a series of tools, which in the most basic sense are controlled by the Internet, and we refer to this collective as ‘social media’ or digital.

Some people are well aware of what social media groupings include, in particular tools such as Facebook, twitter, pinterest and possibly even foursquare and google+ but many don’t. There are still people who would prefer not to understand social media and who will remain resolute that the best way to target customers is through traditional methods; advertising, marketing, PR and *gasp* face-to-face meetings.

There is no right or wrong approach to social media as far as I’m concerned. I think there are a lot of agencies who make social media sound more complicated than it actually is in order to bump up their prices and charge a fortune for a relatively simple schedule of activity, which could be implemented by the client. There are others who do amazing things and rightly deliver on what they promise.

I also see the opinions of business owners in relation to social media. There are a number of businesses who could really benefit from having a greater understanding of the basic techniques that can be used to help drive the communications of a company online but are still very sceptical.

The most important question isn’t do I understand social media but what do my customers and most importantly prospects think about the tools that are available to them and which are they actively using?

Is it likely that even a small proportion of your target audience will be searching for information about your products and services online? If the answer is yes, then you have to question your approach to social media. You also need to find out if people are discussing your brand and business and what they are saying about the service that you are delivering.

If you are still resolute that there is no chance that your customers will be online or using these tools then your time is  better spent elsewhere – perhaps with a get together, colourful piece of direct marketing or promotion, which will drive footfall to your store or business.

One thing to consider however is while you are ignoring social media and what it could do for you, it’s likely that your competitors are making the most of it and you need to question whether you are happy with that.

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