Another simple answer to 'Why social media?'
Continuing with my KISS series -- namely, keeping it simple with regards to answering the question "why should I do social media?" -- I want to share another great blog post. (The first installment pointed to Kevin Dugan's answer of, because "Google sees all").
This installment comes courtesy of Jason Cohen on his A Smart Bear blog. In essence, Jason states that if you don't do social media, you are invisible on the Web. The basis is similar to Kevin Dugan's point, but he very astutely draws the analogy that the decision to do social media is to today what the decision to establish a web site was to 1997.
Anyway, back in the late 1990s, there was a day (let's call it October 19th, 1997) when suddenly every company in the western world decided they needed a website.
Not that anyone knew what a website was for. Was it a brochure? A storefront? A billboard? The geeks say "it's a new way of doing business." What the hell does that mean?
What pushed everyone over the edge was that on October 19th, if you didn't have a website you were invisible. Not just hard to contact, invisible.
Sure you had advertisement and PR; you could get a message in front of people. But then what? Would they go to your store? Call your 800 number and request more information? Not on October 19th; they want a URL and if they don't get one they are finished with you.
Using the example of his own web site, Jason makes the point that without leveraging social media and instead relying on traditional advertisement, there is very little chance that the site will be found.
Social media is the only way LinksFor.Us could get traction. If Darren Rowse or Brian Clark talks about it, it's visible. If it hits the front page of Digg, it's visible. Once it's visible, once you have things like incoming links and lots of regular traffic, then you have a shot at using traditional SEO techniques for staying visible. But social media is the only way to overcome static friction (short of spending crazy money).