Age is just a number! And Social Business is ageless!

When I say ageless, I am thinking about my generation, the Baby Boomers, those individuals born between 1946 and 1964. The youngest of the Baby Boomers will be 50 this year.

These days, an online business presence is a necessity, not a nice to have. I know, I am a Baby Boomer, own a social media company, and just celebrated my 60th birthday!

By the year 2020, 85% of the buyer-seller interaction will happen online and through social media. Josiane Feigon

Social Business is not just for the millennials or the Gen X-ers. Social Business puts people and connections at the center of your business. Social business is not a fad–it shapes the way businesses communicate and engage with customers and business partners.  It is a powerful instrument to market your business online, across countless demographics.

If you are a Boomer business owner still sitting on the fence about becoming a social business, Get Off. The first leg of the race is over and the competition is ahead!

I hear business owners over 50 express doubts and concerns about jumping into the social arena. We were in our 20’s and 30’s when the first computers (PC) appeared on the market. DOS was the operating system, not Windows.  Apple, well, it was a word for a fruit not a company.

AOL came on the scene with instant messages and greeted us with “you’ve got mail”, we were captivated and hooked. Computers got smaller (and smaller), mobile phones made their appearance first as the dreaded “bag phone” then the faster, and more powerful smartphone. Social media channels flourished with Myspace then Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The world of business marketing became more complex as each new tool, new social channel, and new device made its way to the global market. We liked being connected on a personal level. We didn’t have a clue how this same technology would eventually influence the way a business would market us, their customer.

Fast forward to 2014. Customers want to engage with businesses, not just while they are at your place of business, but online, and instantly. They want to share their experience, good or bad, through reviews, posts, and tweets. They want to find you easily and fast on Google Maps and get directions. They want to view your business website on a mobile device, not just on a computer.

Social business marketing goes far beyond a post here or there; it requires goals, planning, strategy, and measuring. It means researching competitors, creating content, testing and measuring results, and being present, consistently.

A business owner who believes employing a high school or college age guy or gal to market their business on Facebook or Twitter will not find the same success as employing a social media manager or consultant.  Casual experience on a social media platform does not translate to an ability to create and implement marketing strategies.

Don’t wait to get your social media strategy in gear. Start slowly, take small steps. Talk with your customers. Learn which social platforms they use and how often. Pick one or two and start there.

Write down and plan your strategy for each platform; each one differs in the type of content and engagement. Use tools to be more productive, like scheduling tweets and posts.  Be consistent with your posts and engage, engage, engage with your customers.

Most important, ASK FOR HELP. If you find you are overwhelmed with social media, ask for help from a social media professional—individuals who have experience and training in social media and understand the complexity of the platforms.

Yes, I’m still learning to text with my thumbs, but at 60, I have embraced social marketing and its value as a marketing and engagement tool. The social sphere has opened up opportunities for me to meet business owners around the globe, learn new ways of doing business, create virtual relationships, and even meet IRL (In Real Life).

Will you be there? Your competitors are!

Now it’s your turn. What does social business mean to you?