When you spend a fair amount of time in the social media world, you see how it opens doors, enhances relationships, and expands horizons. It’s hard to imagine anyone not jumping in and embracing the channel. But if you step away from the hub, you find that most companies don’t have a social media strategy or an interest in creating one.
Companies don’t participate in social media because management doesn’t see the value.
We can talk about engaging customers, improving brand recognition, and building relationships, but it won’t change minds. We are in a tough economic climate where every investment requires a significant return to be viable. Most executives are smart enough to know that the odds are against them creating viral content that generates abundant revenue.
If we want to encourage corporate participation in new channels, we have to be realistic in expectations and presentation. What can you guarantee if a company joins the social media arena? It is impossible to predict what will go viral. The investment of extensive resources to acquire a huge following doesn’t guarantee a nickel of revenue. Suggesting that social media is new age marketing that evolves into sales without effort is misleading.
Social media is a marketing enhancer not a replacement.
It makes traditional marketing better. When companies use social media to communicate with prospects and customers, it changes perspectives. Marketing messages become more personal because there is a connection between the sender and recipients. They are also more targeted because there is a better understanding of what customers want, need, and expect.
When companies ignore social media it reduces their potential. Since it is hard to convince management teams (or anyone) to jump into the unknown without a reason, try this:
- Ask for six months to prove the benefits of social media.
- Create and implement a strategy that builds a social media presence on the platforms used by your target market.
- Identify new customers that are acquired via social media.
- Identify existing customers who are participating in your conversations.
- Create separate segments for new and existing social media customers.
- Measure and compare your return on social media customers with non-participants.
- If your social media customers don’t out perform the others, review your strategy.
- If your strategy is sound, social media may not be right for your corporate culture. (Just an FYI, I haven’t found a company yet where some form of social media doesn’t work. If you find one, please let me know.)