Social Media Is Not A Given

      

For those of us immersed in social media—from the endless tweets to the blog posts, news stories and conversations in the echo chamber—it seems like social media has saturated not only our lives but businesses as well.

If that’s how you feel, you are living in a bubble. Estimates vary, but a recent study by BIA Kelsey,  of over 1 million small to medium businesses found that  only 19.5 percent of SMB sites link to their Facebook page, and an even small percentage link to Twitter and other sites.

From my own personal conversations with people in small to medium businesses as well, the overwhelming majority have the attitudes from not getting its usefulness at all for business to thinking it makes sense but having no clue how to use it.

At a recent eTail conference, I heard about mobile marketing for 3 days straight but nary a peep about social media.  It was stunning.  This is a conference of the top internet retailers in the world.

And to put a fine point on all of this, P & G, a company with one of the largest marketing budgets in the world just– really just—woke up to it (at least on the level that a company like P & G should have woken up to it a couple of years ago)  and had to lay off thousands of people to make the shift .

Where is business in the timeline of accepting social media at least a viable, if not critical form of marketing?  Oh, I’d say it’s around 2001.  In 2001, 3 years after I had launched e-commerce capabilities for the Lion Brand website that started as one page in 1995, I remember people were wondering whether there was a point to this internet thing.  First came the craze and then came the bursting of the dot com bubble.  Not only did people not believe (by a longshot) that virtually every business needed a website, but they took the bursting of the bubble to mean that the internet thing would pass.

That’s where we stand in 2012 with social media.  Most companies are years behind where they need to be in terms of budget allocations, hiring, education and implementation.  The discipline of social media marketing is new and still developing.  Hopefully that won’t stop business owners from recognizing that stepping into social media is critical and urgent.  Yes, they will make mistakes but the bigger mistake is depending on traditional media as the sole source of marketing.

5 Responses to Social Media Is Not A Given
  1. Brittany Botti
    April 18, 2012 | 11:14 am

    So true…I’m always surprised at how many businesses aren’t using social media, or at least aren’t using it well. Since I work in the field I expect it from the businesses I frequent, and I get kind of frustrated when I can’t follow businesses I like on Twitter!

  2. rhonda hurwitz
    April 18, 2012 | 11:39 pm

    I wonder if some companies under use social media because the C-suite is usually comprised of men well over 50 who may not be personally comfortable with the medium. It usually gets delegated, and in some cases, neglected, without ever being truly understood.

    I also think the language of “proof” … ROI … is one we still haven’t cracked. In the bubble, the benefit and the necessity for earned and owned media seems obvious … but we still have to make a compelling case for it. P&G can put an army of number crunchers to work analyzing and understanding social media. What SMB can do that?

  3. Khaalidah
    April 26, 2012 | 2:05 pm

    I get the “why” of social media and I’ve jumped in feet first, but…I find it terribly distracting and time consuming. Not only that, but as of yet, I don’t see where it has made any meaningful impact in terms of increasing my visibility or my pocketbook.
    One thing I can say for certain is this: I’ve been privileged to meet and commiserate with, and share and be shared with some of the most amazing people in the indie publishing community. That alone makes twitter worth every minute of it.

    • Ilana Rabinowitz
      April 26, 2012 | 8:04 pm

      I appreciate your thoughtful and honest comment. You’re absolutely right that social media is often distracting and time consuming. It takes time until you start to see results. What’s good is that you can learn from what people do and do not react to and improve a little bit every day. Realize that it took Chris Brogan 10 years to start to really take off.

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    May 16, 2012 | 3:22 pm

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