Two weeks ago was a good week to be a couch potato. Besides the awful winter weather, it was a big week in television. On Monday, Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight Show.” Tuesday and Wednesday, Olympic hurdler turned bobsledder, Lolo Jones competed in Sochi, making her the tenth American athlete to compete in both summer and Winter Olympics. Even though Jimmy Fallon’s journey to become host of “The Tonight Show” is obviously different from Lolo Jones’s journey to become an Olympic bobsledder, they both used the same tool to further their careers — the tool of social media. Even though you might not be training for the Olympics or hosting a talk show in the near future, (although you may daydream about doing either one) as a small business owner and especially as an artist, you should be on social media. Consider this, in “Branded” (the ESPN Nine for Nine series-documentary), Lolo Jones discussed how she was was the #1 ranked hurdler after competing in her first Olympics in 2008, but had no major sponsorship. After doing some research, she realized that other top Olympic athletes who did have major sponsorship, had a major presence on social media. Jones decided to make social media a priority. Considering that major social media giants and corporations such as Red Bull, Asics, and BP currently sponsor her, her move to social media has literally paid off. You may be one of the best businesses or artists in your community, but may have less revenue than your competitors may because you do not have an Internet presence beyond a website. This may be especially true if you have a younger client base. One of the reasons why Jimmy Fallon was chosen to replace Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight Show,” is because NBC thinks that Fallon is better equipped to attract the coveted 18-34 demographic. In my opinion, one of the reasons why Fallon is more appealing to that generation, The Millennials, is because he much more social media savvy. Jimmy Fallon has both a personal Facebook page as well as a one for his show. The same goes for Twitter. In contrast, Leno only had accounts for the Tonight Show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily stating that you need to have both a personal Facebook page and Twitter account, although it couldn’t hurt. My point being is that a commitment to learning, even embracing social media is essential. In addition, every week Fallon would have a bit where Late Night viewers would submit funny stories or jokes on Twitter using hash tags. A lesson to learn from Fallon, Twitter is a great way to engage your customers in a conversation. One last point, both Jimmy Fallon and Lolo Jones are on several social media platforms. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you can also find Fallon and Jones on Vine and Instagram. Like Fallon and Jones, you may want to consider using different social media sites. Time for me to go back to the couch, another #polarvortex is on its way…

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