Social Media is like Spanish

Have you seen the similarities between Spanish and Social Media? To many business owners, both are intimidating foreign languages. For others, the belief is that rudimentary skills are all that is necessary. But, for the businesses that get it, Spanish and Social Media strength is what sets them apart.

Closed door– They should just speak our language

A common belief is that all foreigners in the USA should speak English. While English is a useful language, we can’t be ignorant and expect everyone in America to speak it fluently and effortlessly. With changing demographics in the USA, it is smart business to have multilingual workers. If I want to give your business money, do you want to turn me away?

This is the same approach that many business owners possess towards Social Media. They think that it is a trend and not worth learning. “Why should I accommodate?” This discrimination against such a game-changing medium is as problematic as not having a business phone-number in the 1990s. In the nicest way possible, your days in business are numbered.

Ignorance – My cousin or employee took Spanish/ grew up on Social Media

Let’s role play – Imagine that I barely speak English, but I am interested in purchasing merchandise from you. Are you going to turn me away? Probably not. I have money and money speaks. So, you send over your 25 year old worker/nephew, who took Spanish in high school. As I am checking out, the employee say Ano instead of Año. Woops!

A common business misconception is that everyone in Generation Y “gets” Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Just because you have an employee that uses social media doesn’t mean that they understand it. Is their Facebook profile a picture of them with an ice luge? Chances are that they shouldn’t be running your social pages. Facebook and Twitter language is a completely different world. The generation gap is deepening. Consider this; the people that are currently going through school today have never known life without a cellphone. What’s a fax machine?

Not knowing how to correctly speak Spanish or use social media can be just as detrimental as not doing it at all. Many people think that the reason their Facebook attempt is unsuccessful is due to a lack of interest. If you have a great product, Facebook/Twitter done well is the difference between success and failure.

Open Arms– “Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”Chinese Proverb

The people that understand social media are the ones that embrace change and attempt to use it to leverage their business. These are the business owners that decide to employ Spanish speakers after noticing  the demographic trends in America. They rock!

It is these same business owners that reach out to learn new social networks and how their business can benefit. These owners may be in networking groups that bring in speakers to discuss new trends (@WestchesterIRL really opened my eyes to these types of people), or sign up for social media classes. They may not be the best in the field, but they understand that ignorance will shorten their business’s life span. They are the ones that are maximizing their current business potential and will be in flourishing in the next few years.

As a member of Generation Y, I can assure you that traditional marketing strategies rarely work on me. I understand that many people still enjoy the idea of “push marketing”, but businesses can’t assume that currents strategies will provide business longevity. If your business discriminates against social media, you’re in trouble.


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