This week, after 30 years of production, Sony finally retired their cassette Walkman.

The loss of the Walkman to the GoodWill in the sky caused me to think of all the things that have become obsolete in my lifetime thanks to the Digital Age. Today, I rarely buy printed books. I read newspapers entirely online. And, I canceled my cable account 3 years ago and watch all my favorite shows online. Oh, and since digital media makes obtaining information easier I never use the Yellow Pages. There’s an app, Yelp, and Google Search for that.

So unless you want your tutoring business to go the way of the Dodo, it’s time to engage with your customers in the digital world or face extinction.  As Brian Solis said in his famed Social Media Manifesto in 2007:  engage or die.

Why Engage or Die?

Blockbuster was made obsolete by Netflix. Yellow Book was antiquated with the arrival of Yelp. Wikipedia has squashed Encyclopedia Britannica.  Brian Solis, author of best-selling book Engage!, is right about one thing.  The repercussions of ignoring the digital world are not pretty. That’s why he’s made it his mission to educate small businesses on why  they should be taking social media opportunities very seriously.

In a recent video interview for the Social Media examiner,  Brian talks about his mantra “Engage or Die” and stresses the importance of businesses evolving with the Digital Age.

Important Takeaways for Tutoring Business Owners:

  • Brian’s Social Media Manifesto was a rallying cry for businesses to start using socia media to engage with their customers online.
  • The consequence of not engaging with these new technologies are serious. You may become obsolete within your market for not embracing social media.
  • “It’s not just about who you have today, it’s about who you don’t have.”
  • Geo-location is an implied form of endorsement. Encourage your customers to share tips on your business using FourSquare, Yelp Checkins and other services.
  • Take a look and see what impact you currently have within social media and geo-location. There is a lot of available intelligence online that is publicly available.
  • Power may have shifted into the consumer’s hands, but it’s a business owner’s obligation to expand their own horizons and engage with the consumer in the method the customer feels most comfortable. Fish where the fish are!

Walk Upright with Social Media

Ready to get started using Social Media for your business? Good!

  • Start by learning how your potential customers are using the Internet to find tutors like you.
  • Investigate whether they’re on Twitter asking their network for science tutors recommendations or on Yelp discovering a new SAT prep class close to their home.
  • If they’re using them in combination, define a plan on how you plan to attract your new leads to you.
  • Use Social Media to listen to your prospects and speak to them in their language.
  • Create content they’ll find interesting and use keywords that will help them find you.
  • Build your presence on Facebook and encourage your customers to “Like” your new page.

Remember, though you may be perfectly able to find new customers today using the old and antiquated methods of your marketing past, your customers are moving on. You need to be the one they find once they get where they’re going.

After all, in it’s heyday, the Sony Walkman was one of the popular portable music devices out there. In 1980, The Wall Street Journal called it “one of the hottest new status symbols around.” At the time the Walkman cost $150. Many consumers had to wait months to obtain theirs because it was on back order for months at a time; now it takes up space in the $0.50 bin at my local GoodWill.

Time to evolve!

How are you using social media to engage with audience and find new customers online? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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