ATLANTA – MC Hammer is the absolute truth when it comes to social media. I knew this for sure when, a few years ago, I watched dumbfounded as Fortune 500 corporate execs and advertising reps gave Hammer a standing ovation at the Association of National Advertisers conference in Phoenix a few years ago.

And he held the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference multitude spellbound, mouths agape, as he demonstrated his mastery of this relatively new medium called social media during the awards luncheon at the illustrious Mariott Marquis on Monday, May 23. Many of the people in attendance are dignitaries and millionaires and VPs of intercontinental conglomerates, yet I saw stunned looks stenciled on their faces at what Hammer proffered this day. It’s as if they could not believe that the same man who blew down the doors of pop music with his brand of hip-hop had also done the same thing with social media.

Hammer has become such a master at this phenomenon that he is being handed thick stacks just to appear and dispel his expertise to students at the crème de la crème of American institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and Oxford in England. His electronic Rolodex, which he revealed backstage, reads like the who’s who of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. He’s got the founders of Twitter and Facebook on his speed dial. That alone should get your attention and let you know the man is for real.

Not since Malcolm X in 1964 has an African American public figure been so sought after on America’s elite college campuses. Many are impressed with Earvin “Magic” Johnson‘s basketball-to-business exploits, but not even the Lakers legend was able to so effectively able to transition into, and then mater and wield influence in, another forum while remaining in the public eye as Stanley Burrell of Oakland, Calif.

Many I spoke with before and after Hammer’s appearance in Atlanta admitted that they were totally unaware of who MC Hammer really is. They definitely know who he is now. And after they recovered from the shock, they were able to digest some of the things Hammer, who has more than 2 million Twitter followers, had to say:

Hammer talked about today’s marketplace being powered by “The Relationship Economy” through social media. “This is very important to my network and my business,” he said.

“If you are the owner of a mom-and-pop business and you’re happy with taking one trip a year, and that fulfills you, then fine. Don’t embrace technology and social media. But if the goal is to grow your business, increase customer retention, customer relations and increase your bottom line, then you want to use all these tools.

You don’t have to embrace technology and social media, but your competitors will and they will take your market share. They will figure out a way to make their business better than yours. At this time, it’s no longer speculation. Social media is here. We’re talking about tools that will enhance the [business] experience,” said Hammer.
–terry shropshire

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