Growing Businesses

Is she a good mom, a Luddite, or both?

Growing Businesses

Marketing Consultants who grow businesses.

Recently at a business lunch with women in the food industry, I met a group of successful, accomplished women.  Each woman demonstrated a great sense of humor, a love of love of family, and determination to live enriched lives.

Since it was a networking event, I explained that part of my consulting practice managed online content strategy for a series of customers.  In response to my dabble at a friendly introduction, I was very surprised and caught off-guard to hear:  “I hate everything social media.  I hate it.”  This followed by, “I know it’s what everybody else is doing, but it just seems to take away from this. Her “this” was in reference to the fact that six women were engaged in networking, in being social, and in laughing.

Admittedly, I thought this thinking was a thing of the past.  I also thought best about how and whether to address this, but figured that the visceral response on her part was so strong, the setting wasn’t conducive to a discussion as much as a debate-inappropriate for such a setting.

Now, to be fair, this smart, intelligent woman added that she also has a 12-year old son.   Basically, she wants the best for her son’s growth and development.  It’s an excellent parent who encourages balance in a child’s life, ensuring it’s not wholly spent online.

So, when I said “perhaps we should discuss something else,” she stated what I was already thinking, “I know I need to learn it, I just don’t get it.”  The grain of hope is that in her own time she’ll “discover” the vast resources and opportunities that await her & her son.

A Sales Woman in the food industry.

How could social media help her when presumably she is already hitting her employer’s numbers?  Does she need to be online?  Evidently, in her mind, she doesn’t.  She is letting her fear negatively affect her potential.

Also evident, however, is that she will face fierce competition from those who don’t have fear, possibly younger, definitely savvier, and who are capitalizing on a myriad of communication tools. She’s not preparing for change, and by the way that’s not “future change.”  It’s the change that is the “now.”   Granted, early adopters have been praising the benefit of social media for quite some time, with results in tangible data slower to progress for the likes of many P&L managers.  Most certainly there is much to question, even still.

But, in these economic times, it’s wise to work every single angle you can as a sales person.  Promoting products, business, results, etc. can be done in a single, solitary update on LinkedIn for an extended period of time.  The typical response is “I don’t want to brag,”  “I don’t want everyone to know about where I am at every moment.”  Well guess what?  If you don’t start to talk about why you’re good, what’s different about your product, about your company’s fundraising success- any number of non-personal items that are not “bragging” and are just “facts”, when you’re a part of a downsizing, you won’t have the social media experience and you will have lost precious time.

Change your attitude.  Your competition has, and if you want to compete now AND in the future, then avoid a repeat of history.  (Ever heard of the Luddites?)

What if by showing up at one of your clients’ office, you can tweet and promote their latest product?  Doesn’t that help you to have a discussion with your client?  (Note: that content is not about you, but your client.” )

What if you can show your 12-year old why you’re going to monitor his pictures and settings?  As a parent, you’re going to ensure he still tries out for every athletic sport there is and tries out for the band.  I don’t profess to know the right age for a child to be given access to the social tools online, but I do know it requires knowledge to see this is done right and with good guidance.  I also know that these skills are critical for a child to compete in any market in the future.  But it’s not just for the 12-year old.

As with anything, and as another woman at the lunch table stated diplomatically, “There is good and bad in everything.”  Without question, online interactions should be balanced with offline skills.  I, too, worry about a world in which people lose the nuances & beauties of face-to-face interactions.

My ultimate message is simple.  Offline and online branding are both highly important, but it’s always wise to expand your options, your reach, and your own personal development by engaging socially where your clients, your current and future bosses, and eventually your son engage.

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