Amazing. In a recent poll by MarketingSherpa, many companies are still figuring out this whole social media thing. The poll looks at the key barriers to adopting a social media marketing strategy. According to the poll, lack of knowledge about social media (46%) and the inability to measure ROI (43%) are the key drivers. Hmmmm … could they be related?
In my travels, I hear arguments on both sides of the social media aisle. On the one hand, there are people like John Blossom, President and Chief Analyst of Shore Communications (and on the SIIA Content Board with me). John is usually the first in my circle to play with the latest social media tools. Way back when Twitter launched, then Google Wave and most recently, Google Buzz – he dove right in. It’s been fascinating to watch and observe John. He has been very open about his evolving learning’s and suggestions on how best to leverage each social media tool. Its fun to see him, and others, try to understand these tools and the implications for them and their businesses. I bet if you asked John or any person or business proactively figuring how social media impacts their business, they could tell you exactly what ROI social media provides to their business.
On the other side of the social media aisle? The loud cry from those who just don't understand. Who are they? Well, the respondents from that MarketingSherpa poll for one. In my own personal polling, I have found people actually bragging they are laggards and use that excuse not to test social media. Others, and you see the blog posts and tweets all the time, just don't see the ROI and therefore refuse to try it out. Oh ... then there are the comments that it’s a waste of time! Your teenagers on Facebook for 7 hours a day ... is a waste of time. Your business? You really can’t afford NOT to.
Ignorance and lack of action is no excuse. The challenge with social media is in order to understand it … you need to use it. The more you blog, tweet, buzz and post on various social media sites … the more you ‘get it’. While some of these examples are a bit dated, check out what happened to these companies when they didn’t understand and appropriately react to the social media activity.
I am stating the obvious here, but you laggards, technically phobic and overly analytically inclined who have not jumped in yet, you need to jump in and start learning and testing social media now. Its way beyond a start up phase ... or even a fad. This week, Twitter announced that there are now over 50 million tweets a day. The search engines are now integrating Twitter, Facebook and other social media services into "real time search". Social media is here to stay and will be a force impacting your company whether you want it to or not ... for better or worse.
At the end of the day, we owe it to ourselves, our customers and our investors - to experiment with all things social media and to figure it out. Just do it!