Social Media is not a Silver Bullet

The number of people who think that social media (YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) are going to save their business models is amazing.  They are all chasing the next bright and shiney thing.

I have been in the company of several groups who seem to think that social media can be a savior of their business (and their business models).  I think I would caution them that the opposite may be true – new media may destroy your business model, and its more important to reinvent your business model based on a new reality than incrementally trying to improve your existing model.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do those things, but it’s an “and” thing, no an “instead” thing.  Facebook is not going to replace word of mouth, Twitter is not going to replace direct mail, and YouTube is not going to have the same effect as a TV advertising campaign.

Now, I do think its an important signal.  You aren’t going to find any businesses that don’t have a website, and seeing someone using a Comcast or AOL email address as a professional contact seems…unprofessional.  The question “whatdya mean you’re not on Facebook?” is the new “what do you mean you don’t do email” or “have a websiite?”  Not like anyone can quantify why you should be, but it seems to be a signal of a viable business.  You have to be because everyone else is.


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