My Media SystemA blog post by John Mariotti yesterday, stated that REAL business people don’t use (and won’t use) Social Media Marketing. The article goes on to provide 10 reasons why Mr Mariotti won’t use social media and whilst some of his points have merit, I was left quite flabbergasted as to his main reasonings.

An interesting point of view, that REAL business people don’t use social marketing. Really? In the offline world, I wonder what would you call Conventions, Seminars, business mixers and the like? Certainly, there is an aspect of social marketing there, isn’t there?

So I guess, if I was a real business person, I would turn up to a conference for the talks only, definitely not speak to anyone, allow anyone to get to know me or get to know anyone else. I guess I’m not a real business person then. I certainly enjoy going to events as much for the social aspect as for the informational parts.

O.K, give Mr Mariotti his due, he does state:

True relationships may originate in email or other similar venues, but must become personal and not electronic to be of meaningful value.

He almost “gets” it here. Sure, as Mark Hendricks from Internet Success System always says, people have to “Know You, Like You, Trust You” before a successful business relationship can be entered into. However, Mr Mariotti is inferring that an “electronic relationship” can not become personal, that perhaps the two are mutually exclusive.

Isn’t that the benefit of Social Media? That you can take an electronic relationship and add an interpersonal aspect to it? Certainly, I have “met” many interesting people using social media sites and I would consider many of them business colleagues and some of them “friends”. By interacting appropriately through these mediums, I have be able to “Get To Know, Get To Like and Get To Trust” people I wouldn’t normally have considered dealing with through email and, conversely, I have been able to allow many people to “Know Me, Like Me, Trust Me” and we are doing business.

I have to agree that some of the Social Media sites are just plain tedious and not designed to allow Business People to connect and interact at a business level. However, I can draw parallels here to the many associations and clubs that exist for business people in the offline world. Some of these organisations are aimed purely at being social and having fun, whilst others deftly weave the threads of socialisation and business together; and the last group are there just to allow business to occur. This is the same with Social Media sites and it’s a matter of finding out what fits you best…..

Mr Marriotti further cites that

there are many other, more focused ways of networking and marketing instead of placing your identity, your information, photos, etc. in the public — very public — domain.

as another detriment to using Social Media.

Going back to the “Know You, Like You, Trust You” model, isn’t the ability to put your identity, information and photo into a very public domain, an excellent method to achieve this? I certainly wouldn’t share all my deeply personal information on these sites, but my business persona is definitely promoted. Mari Smith, from Facebook For Professionals, is an excellent advocate and example of how this can be achieved.

My next favourite quote from this post is:

When I want to expand my network, I want to choose who will be involved and know that their involvement is willing and enthusiastic — not the result of an email and a few clicks of the mouse.

Now here, I think Mr Marriotti doesn’t get it….. Social Media doesn’t rely solely on email to “get people involved”. If fact, by allowing people to view your public profile, see what your business is about and being an active member of the “social” community, you are more likely to guarantee willing and enthusiastic participants in your projects. Better yet,you can also see who is participating in your business and you can moderate your network to ensure the quality and type of people that you get.

I was left wondering about this statement:

Social networking is in the evolutionary stage, and as such, all of the sites that exist now will change, evolve become either more useful and secure or go away. The lessons are there in recent history: Compuserve, early versions of AOL, Prodigy and all the other now defunct or otherwise transitory Internet, email or proprietary Web systems

Oh come on! There will also be something bigger and better just around the corner…. what is Mr Mariotti trying to prove with this statement? If he was to wait for the next bigger and better computer, I guess we wouldn’t be reading his post now. What about the next bigger and better TV or DVD type machine? Of course technology will evolve and it is our responsibility to evolve with it. It is the use of these technologies that allow them to evolve to meet consumer demand.

However, this would have to be my favourite statement (I feel it gives a wonderful insight into Mr Marriottis point of view):

Face-to-face, person-to-person contact is always best, especially at the start, and there are so many ways and places to find that preferred “human network.”

This can be supplemented later by email contact and Web-based communications……

So, let’s examine this a little closer. If you are talking about traditional 80’s or 90’s style of business, where you only deal with organisations or people that you can physically influence (by, physically influence, I mean meet with and get to know on a person to person level) then Mr Marriottis view is quite valid.

However, the world has moved on and we are no longer a series of smaller local communities that do business together. There is a large global community that we can, if we choose, do business in. The ability to meet in person each and everyone you do business with, at the outset, is not always there and Social Media allows a quasi person to person interaction to occur.

I am a living example of this. In the last 6 months, through Social Media sites, I have met hundreds of new people. A smaller handful of those are people that I now interact with on a regular basis using “Social Technologies” and, we are developing some exciting business opportunities as a result. The Social Medium allows these relationships to develop and flourish.

What’s even better for me, is that when I decide to travel to the countries my colleagues are in, I will get to meet them and have people to visit whilst there.

I consider myself to be a real Business Person. I am embracing social media as another way to get my products and services to market and to grow a truly International business.

If I were to take Mr Marriottis view, I would be doing the hard yards to meet people personally and spending a lot of my time “on the road” and there are only so many hours in the day that you can take this approach. Thankfully, social media makes me more accessible and, in return, makes my customers and business colleagues more accessible.

For your business to flourish in the 21st Century and beyond, you need to be revising your customer and business partner contact strategies to leverage as much of the new technology as you can. If you don’t know how, or even where to start, seek assistance! There are businesses who specialise in helping business people leverage the social media beast to their benefit.

So, ask yourself, do you risk your business becoming extinct in the 21st Century by not embracing the current Social Media movement (and after that, the next technological advance)?


About the Author Charly Leetham

Charly Leetham has worked for over 20 years in the IT industry, specifically in the area of data communications and local area networking. Charly is a qualifed "tech", holding an Associate Diploma in Electronics Engineering. Her experience with Personal Computers ranges from building computers to providing 2nd level user support. Charly also holds a Masters of Business Admin (MBA), specialising in Internet Marketing. Visit her site at

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