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TOUGH CALL: The Importance of Being Earnestly Social

Online Poll – Read the scenario below then place your vote at the bottom of the page.

November-2015-tc-social-media-cubeHaving grown up in the lumber business, you were always drawn to the industry’s down-to-earth reality. Few fads. Fewer gimmicks. Just the products that people need to build or fix their home. Nice and simple. That’s how it used to be, anyway. Today’s fast-changing media environment has you questioning your long-held philosophy to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid). Indeed, you’re rethinking your approach to how your company, Luddite Lumber, should be marketed. Here’s the story.

Last year, after constant berating from your operations and sales team, you finally relented to a modest upgrade of your company’s website. Granted, budgetary restraints (fueled by your conservative nature) prevented you from going as far as they’d requested. Still, your new and improved site is vastly superior to what it replaced, and after writing the check to the developer, you figured to be done investing in anything “virtual.”

You figured wrong.

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As it happens, your Internet-savvy staffers are now insisting that Luddite Lumber dive into the world of social media. Investing in the powered-up website, they say, was necessary just to avoid falling hopelessly behind. The next step is to have an active online presence, because that’s where a healthy percentage of the population is spending their free time. “The world is changing, and our customers are changing, too,” they say. “If you want to keep the company relevant to tomorrow’s customers, we need to have an active online presence—beyond the website—and we need it now.”

While you don’t see yourself quite as old-and-out-of-touch as the younger colleagues view you, you acknowledge that they may have a point. After all, you couldn’t help but notice all the buzz at the latest HBA meeting about all the great things your competitor is doing online. The problem is that you have virtually no interest at all in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz and all the rest. When you mentioned to your wife at breakfast that you may have to start tweeting… she gave you a look that you never want to see again. (In fact, it was eerily similar to the look your colleagues gave you when you said, “Hey, we have a Facebook page. What else do we need?”)

It’s becoming clear that you’re going to have to start taking this social media beast seriously. The message is being hammered home by a framed quote from Robert Ringer that hangs on the wall across from your desk. “The Theory of Reality: Reality is neither the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. You either acknowledge reality and use it to your benefit, or it will automatically work against you.”

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What would you do?

1. Go big. Though you’re not yet a believer, you trust your associates enough to know that it’s time to dive in and establish a serious social media presence.
2. Further study. It may be important, but how important is it really? Before jumping in, you need to understand the impact at different levels of investment.
3. Baby steps. Treat social media the same as you treated your website. Take baby steps, with a minimal spend, with the understanding that you’ll go “all in” once you’re convinced.
4. Just say no. An informal survey of your top customers makes clear that they couldn’t care less how active Luddite Lumber is on social media. Money talks.

What would you do?

Something else?
If you’d take a different plan of attack, email your suggested solution to

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