In my business I meet a lot of people with a lot of interesting opinions about social media.
These opinions range from “It’s fantastic! I use it every day!” to “I don’t get it but I’m willing to learn” to “I hate it and I think it’s the downfall of society.”
People certainly have the right to their opinion. If someone absolutely loathes the internet and all it represents, then I won’t waste my time discussing all the revolutionary and important uses for it. (Thankfully, these people are in the minority.)
The social media converts and die-hards are fun to talk to because we are usually on the same page and have some ideas to bounce off of each other.
But the ones that really interest me are the skeptics.
Skepticism and apprehension are usually driven by fear, and in this case, the fear of social media is the fear of the unknown.
Social Media Skeptics are people that have heard of social media and are afraid to start using it and/or people that are dabbling in social media but not sure how to proceed.
Social Media Skeptics are people intrigued by social media but are not convinced of its usefulness or relevance to them or their business.
In my experience, there are three types of Social Media Skeptics:
- The Emotional Skeptic: The Emotional Skeptic is afraid of everyone knowing the details of their private life. They are primarily worried about privacy issues and fear that their information will be stolen, copied or otherwise misused.
- The Logical Skeptic: The Logical Skeptic feels that social media is an unproven medium. They need to see immediate ROI on their marketing strategies, and are not sure that social media marketing will help their business.
- The Overwhelmed Skeptic: The Overwhelmed Skeptic is just that –overwhelmed! They are weighed down by the sheer amount of information out there, and believe that they have no time to learn how to manage social media accounts.
So what do I do when I meet a Social Media Skeptic?
- Figure out which type they fit into, and inquire about their concerns. People like to be listened to and responded to in a genuine, caring way. Trying something new is scary, and people don’t like to be rushed.
- Show them the statistics. The sheer numbers of people using social networks are mind boggling – for example, Facebook is poised to sign up its 1 billionth user this year.
- Show them how it’s useful. I find compelling examples of social media in action – businesses using it to address customer service concerns, individuals using it to connect to issues they care about, nonprofits using it to fundraise and to find volunteers.
- Explain it in layman’s terms. When I first meet with someone, I don’t immediately throw around words like “retweet”, “hashtag”, “check-in” and “analytics”. I feel out the situation and the individual’s comfort level and skill, and go from there.
- Go slowly. Despite my passion for new technologies and the possibilities inherent in social media, I start gradually with skeptics. I don’t patronize or belittle them if they don’t understand it right away (I mean, who does?) I don’t force my opinions on anyone – who would that benefit? Remember the old tale of the rabbit and the tortoise: Slowly and surely wins the race.
Are you a Social Media Skeptic? What advice do you have for others? Please leave your feedback in the Comments section, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – Thanks for reading!