elephantThere is no denying that 2009 was  the year of social media.

The explosion of Twitter and the continued growth of Facebook (now with over 350 million members) has led even the most hardened marketing critics to one inescapable conclusion:

Social media is here to stay.

The question to ask yourself is what the hell are you going to do about it.

I saw way too many toes in the water this year and lots of half-hearted efforts.

Mostly by old-school business owners who can’t get past the fact their entire way of advertising and promoting themselves has experienced a seismic shift.

And their only way of responding is to shout ROI ROI ROI!

That’s all well and good and it is true that unplanned, ill-conceived social media practices yield very little.

But that also assumes you are willing to play the game we have agreed to play.

You can get a return on your investment but first you have to make the investment.

Then we have to agree on some kind of strategy.

Then we will measure what is truly important, not what you think is important.

And after all that, if we don’t make any headway, then you can say that social media does not pay for itself.

No one in this space has ever declared themselves to be a social media expert, for the mere fact that social media has no future as an independent silo.  It is simply an aspect of the future of PR, communications and marketing.

As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to bet in a few years we will look back at the term social media and “social media expert” and chuckle, like a lot of early adopters have been for awhile.

The bottom line is that you have to do something about it and ignoring it will not work.

All communications and marketing is now social.

There is no more one-way conversation.

So you have a choice.

You can join in on that conversation, or you can take a seat on the couch.

Although, there’s not much room there.