Why We Can’t Ignore Social Media - Black Enterprise

Why We Can’t Ignore Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube–and those are just the most popular ones. The list of social media sites is constantly growing, and every month it seems there’s a new one that you “must” join. Even for those of us in the BE Next generation it can be overwhelming. So I understand how it could be downright intimidating for someone who entered the world of business back when a “tweet” was a sound birds made and before “friend” became a verb.

I’ll be honest: Despite a presence on LinkedIn and my use of Facebook to connect with friends and family, I have been pretty resistant to social media. I finally gave in and joined Twitter just over a month ago, for professional reasons. I was wary of how much time I’d have to invest, I wasn’t looking forward to figuring out another platform, and I struggled with what I should be saying and how I should be saying it.

But the world of social media is one no professional or entrepreneur can afford to avoid. “News, information, and thoughts, I would even argue, travel though the social media tapestry and connect with people,” says James Andrews, a managing partner of Everywhere, an Atlanta-based social media communications company. “It’s connectedness on an entirely different level. It’s building communities that people have never seen before. So the question becomes for you as a business: What are you doing to swim where the fish are?”

On the other hand, to be a savvy social networker can open a lot of doors. When I first read about Gabi Gregg, the then 23-year-old who put together a plus-size fashion show on the Brooklyn Bridge as part of a series of Twitter-based challenges on her way to being named MTV’s first-ever Twitter jockey, I thought it was a cool story. But when I got a chance to interview her I realized it was more than that; it’s an example for all of us about the potential benefits of building an engaged following online. Gregg shares how she did it and, more importantly, how you can too in our cover story, “How Tweet It Is.”

Armed with advice I got from Gregg and Andrews, I have a new approach to connecting with our audience through Twitter. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, unsure of the need to promote yourself or your business, check out their tips in this second installment of our social media series and also on . Because to tweet or not to tweet is no longer the question. “The new empowered consumer wants to be heard, they’ve made that loud and clear,” Andrews says, “and you have to meet them with your social media strategy. To not have a stake in the real estate, to not be involved in social media is detrimental to your personal brand and your business.”