Social Media: The Sidecar Analogy

Social Media: The Sidecar Analogy

Running a business is a journey more and more people are choosing to make. And if you’re reading this having taken or started that journey, you’ll know it’s not an easy journey to take, but it can be very enjoyable and rewarding. One thing running a business isn’t, is it isn’t like riding a bike.

However, for the purpose of this article, I’d you to imagine that your business is a bike. A gorgeous, sexy, beast of a motorbike. All parts of the bike work in harmony with each other, including at least one passenger to drive it forward, so together the bike and rider can successfully navigate any bumps in the road they may face together. The tank is full, the engine is purring, so it’s visor down and let’s ride!

Now I’d like you to picture, sitting alongside the motorbike, is a side car carrying as many passengers as it can (usually one, I know, but it’s your imagination so fill your boots). That side car is unable to move without a reliable motorbike to guide it. It has to compliment how the bike looks or it’ll appear ridiculous, possibly event mocked.

This is how I see social media. In this analogy, the bike is the business. Each part working together, like the stands of a business (marketing, finance, operations, etc.), ensuring the progress of its journey. The side car (the social media aspect of a business) adds personality, compliments the bike, picks passengers up on the way and drops them off too. It isn’t attached to one part of the bike (e.g. solely to marketing) but to different parts to ensure stability. The side car also can’t travel on its own, or at a different speed. It needs the bike.

Why Is This Important?

Often, at courses I deliver, social media is referred to as a sales or marketing tool. Seen by some as the solution to business challenges. Sure, it can have positive impacts in these areas, but social media isn’t the panacea to all that a business faces.

Social media is, however, a concept that you can integrate into the multi-function requirements of a business. It can truly have a positive impact on research, customer support, marketing, and more, and for some businesses it’ll have more of an impact in one area than it would in another business. Either way, it has to compliment successful systems and processes already in place. It can’t do any of these jobs on its own. It isn’t the bike.


What analogy would you give to the relationship of social media and a business? How would you tweak the side car analogy? How does social media work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts here or here: @edagoodman

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *