Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Social Media is Just a Tool

Three days ago violent mobs overthrew the government of Tunisia. While many are quick to credit social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for this sudden turn of events, the fact is that it was the people who overthrew the government - not social media. As far as I'm concerned Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were merely tools that helped mobilize disgruntled Tunisians to facilitate the outcome.

In my own little world of custom furniture making I have come to similar conclusions regarding the effectiveness of social media sites for marketing and sales. Over the past few years I have undertaken a number of digital initiatives including starting this blog, setting up a Facebook page, and signing on to Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube - in addition to maintaining a website that was started well over 10 years ago.

Given the considerable amount of time that's been invested in these efforts I've come to realize that, in the grand scheme of things, all of this marketing via social media is really little more than a means to an end. While this blog , or my Facebook page, or my Linkedin profile, or a clever tweet made on Twitter might catch someone's attention - at the end of the day it's going to take more than a digital presence for me to successfully sell my work to a potentially interested customer.

In this regard I feel that doing business today is in many ways no different than it was back in the days before Internet. Namely, somewhere along the way a potential client has to feel confident that I will deliver on my promises at a level that's going to meet or exceed their expectations.

This is something I've been trying to stress to my son Kevin as he prepares to participate in next week's Interior Design Show (IDS11). So far he's done an admirable job of creating his own Facebook page, Youtube site and Twitter feed . While these tools will help him tell others about who he is and what he can do, his success at this show will ultimately be determined by how he presents himself and instills in others the confidence of wanting to do business with him.

Nevertheless, I can be counted on to use social media tools in the coming week as I shamelessly promote Kevin and his abilities as a custom furniture maker.

Would you expect anything less from a Dad?

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