Advertising guru, Roy Williams likes to say “Advertising only accelerates the inevitable” today I would add that “Social media only accelerates the inevitable.”

The point is simple, if you have a good business, with strong values, a great product/service, that takes good care of employees and customers, advertising will help amplify your great story and your results.

If you have a lousy product, treat customers and employees without respect, with advertising you’ll soon be out of business (although some airlines and banks have consistently managed to defy this rule).

Used to be if you had a lousy business you could fool some people in to buying from you and word of mouth would eventually catch up with you as the expression went one person who would then tell twelve… But that was another day. Today one person Tweets, updates their status, creates a YouTube video, post a review or blogs and thousands if not millions might see it.

It’s All About Me, The Customer

Peter Drucker said the “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

Notice the focus on the customer, not the product or service. The point of your business should be to fill needs and create value for your customers. Too many companies still practice accidental marketing. They hope that social media marketing is their magic blue pill to great results.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Social Away

You don’t have to be social, but you do need to provide value for your customers. Apple is not a social company, it is not open to having a dialogue with everyone, nor does it need to. As long as they continue to fill needs and bring value to customers. Some die-hard social media “experts” will argue with me, but you can’t argue with Apple’s results. Being social is not part of their corporate metabolism and it doesn’t look like they need to change that anytime soon. But you are also not Apple.

The Social Values

The social media revolution though does signify certain cultural and societal values shifting. We expect a business to have respect for the customer, create good products/services (or we’ll review them negatively), have good customer service, and we expect some level of transparency and authenticity from the organization.

Being social is about values, beliefs and attitudes. Values and attitudes you have or don’t or would like to have. Keep in mind if you don’t have them changing attitudes and beliefs can be difficult, un-natural and you will resist it. As much as change is a constant, as humans we seek to keep the status quo.

You can’t fake social. Just because you post some YouTube videos, put up a fan page, start a blog or twitter account, does not mean you are “social.” If you are not prepared to walk the talk and align your values don’t believe the tactics will bring results.

Do not believe the tactics can replace the strategy. However, if you are prepared for real change starting down this path to social commerce can be transformative.

You can always put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day you still have a pig, although possibly a pretty pig.