When asked about the necessity of a social strategy and presence, I go back to a very specific moment.

The first time I saw a website in an advertisement. I was riding the C-Train on my way to the University of Calgary. I don’t remember what the site was, but the poster was black, with white font, and it was so out of place I remember it almost 20 years later.

Now, we see such dynamic marketing that a TV ad pushes viewers to Twitter where they will find a YouTube link encouraging participation in a Facebook contest which directs you to a website with a subtle but effective buying proposition. Hashtags are everywhere, grand prizes are given away on Instagram, and I can be notified a great pair of shoes I pinned on Pinterest went on sale through my smart phone.

It’s a whirlwind of information and a daunting prospect to take advantage of it all as a business owner – and be assured any company who IS taking advantage of it all has a large contingent of people managing it all. You can’t do it all yourself.

I hear people say they don’t need to use social media for their business. Imagine if you’d said the same thing about a website in 2003 because the Yellow Pages were working well enough.

Remember two things when you start focusing on a social strategy.

1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
2. Be ready to adapt, because it’s all going to change.

There is no better example of this right now than Facebook. Consider setting a budget for your Facebook marketing – you’re going to need one. And rather than spending even more time trying to make your business page effective organically, start to build on another platform.

Investigate Pinterest, Instagram or Snapchat if you’re a retail business, restaurant, realtor, or creative business. LinkedIn and Twitter still allow you to be enormously successful without buying ads or upgrading accounts.

Just because your current customers aren’t there right now doesn’t mean they won’t be headed there soon.

You should be ready. More adults are moving to Snapchat every day. It might be small for business now, but it won’t be next year.  Start spreading your wings so you’re in charge, and can make a proactive decision regarding the social platforms you’ll be using to promote your business a year from now.

You’ll be glad you did.