Social Media Is Not the Savior, But...

Posted on January 3rd 2014

Social Media Is Not the Savior, But...

ImageIt’s still surprising how many businesses are ignoring social media. I’ve heard the various arguments against – that it’s a fad, that it’s mostly kids (nope), that there’s no significant value-add – but none of these stack up in the face of ever-growing data to the contrary. I'll admit, even I was once sceptical of the benefits of social media. I viewed social media as complimentary to traditional media channels, nothing more. It would never overtake traditional press and broadcast platforms. It would never become a critical pulse for business. I was wrong. And now, while I can understand where those opposing views stem from, my response to these people is that you're viewing social from the wrong perspective. In 2014 it's going to be more important than ever that your business has an active social media presence. Here’s a couple of the points to pass on to the unconvinced as to why social media is more valuable than they may think:

1) Don’t think in terms of immediate value, but in potential value. Some brands might be able to ignore social media, go on about their business as they always have, leave those new channels to others. Some brands can do this and suffer little negative impact, but the more important element here is that by ignoring social media channels, you are missing out on massive opportunities that are waiting to be taken up. There are millions of conversations happening on social media everyday, some of them are relevant to your business. By ignoring them, maybe you’re not losing anything from what you currently have, but you are missing out new opportunities. Having a dedicated social presence takes time and investment, but it has the potential to produce amazing results, many of which you wouldn’t even be aware of if you didn’t actively track and participate these conversations. Or, in more immediate terms, there are opportunities out there, right now, that you're not aware of because you’re not actively participating in social media conversations. They're going on as we speak.

2) People say things like ‘Likes’ don’t mean anything – 'anyone can press the ‘Like’ button because it costs nothing and there’s no commitment'. This is true, pressing ‘Like’ or re-tweeting something doesn’t translate to direct revenue for your business, but that’s not necessarily the point. The first relevant point of these endorsements is the data you gain – you can see what gets a response and use that in future planning. But more importantly, as soon as someone presses ‘Like’, they allow you access to their NewsFeed – you can advertise to them directly (though NewsFeed algorithm changes have affected this). Maybe they ignore your messages, maybe they ‘un-Like’ your page, but it’s a way in, a starting point for future conversations. Social media is about relationships and you need to establish the network before you can sell to it. Re-tweets spread your message, giving you the data and expanding brand awareness via the extended followers for every re-tweeter. It’s not money in the bank, it’s the start of the conversation, which is, potentially, just as valuable. Latest studies clearly show ROI is improving for both B2B and B2C companies, those results are only going to improve.

3) The amount of readily available consumer data is of significant value to your brand. You would have heard all the reports of the amount of data people are putting online. Big data allows you to target your message more than ever before and the degree to which you can focus your advertising is amazing, and can produce amazing results. A simple example - a friend of mine is in a band and they were recently touring interstate. Their band is not well-known, but they have been compared to another, very well-known band. In order to get the word out about their upcoming gig, they advertised on Facebook – they were able to target all users who were fans of that more well-known band within a 100km radius of the venue where they would be playing with sponsored ads that appeared in those users' NewsFeeds. The result? They sold out the show in record time, the first show they’d sold out in that state. This, all by utilising data readily available via social platforms. If your brand isn’t considering how they can utilise this, you really need to think over your strategy.

These are just some of the reasons why social media is crucial to the future of business. Social platforms continue to grow and diversify. If your brand is not active on these channels, not investing in social media management and monitoring, you really need to be asking whether you can afford to let these opportunities slip. And whether your competitors will approach things in the same way.

Maybe time to add another resolution to your 2014 list.

adhutchinson

Andrew Hutchinson

Writer/Consultant, adh

Andrew Hutchinson is an internationally published author, award-winning blogger and social media consultant from Melbourne, Australia. He has more than 12 years experience working in media monitoring, helping clients locate, evaluate and action keyword occurrences in all forms of traditional and digital media. He's also a Hootsuite Ambassador for the APAC region and one of the 'Best Thinkers' on leading social media news website Social Media Today. If you're looking for a writer for your business, or advice on how to maximise your digital media presence, please go to www.andrewhutchinson.com.au for more information.

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Comments

Greg Nash
Posted on January 3rd 2014 at 9:57AM

Hello Andrew,

All points well taken! They will help me to reinforce what I am trying to achieve in social media. Just starting out and I learn something new every day. Thank you for the post.  

daileywealth
Posted on January 3rd 2014 at 6:58PM

Yes, I agree. If you have a business and or not taking advantage of it, you are missing out.  It's not a quick strategy but in the long run will benefit you by building relationships with your customers.

John Phanchalad
Posted on January 4th 2014 at 7:40PM

I still dont disagree that social media has vavlue but you've got to be able to actually limit your comments in articles like this to the type of businesses that it will definitely help and the one's that it wont.  Also you should be looking at where the marketer is spreading their budget.  If due to spreading their budget too thin they have no real traction in any online marketing medium then social media in my mind has to be the first one to go.

adhutchinson
Posted on January 4th 2014 at 11:40PM

Take your point, John - I do think that being active, or at least present, in social media is of benefit for all businesses, but there will, of course, be budget constraints and necessary dilligence process to determine what's best for the individual brand.

TwoSix
Posted on January 6th 2014 at 12:51PM

Social media is "complimentary" to traditional media??  Well now.  That's mighty nice of Social media..  I do agree that Social Media is complementary to traditional media channels - but what's truly important is the ability to make sense of it all.  

What value do traditional and social media alike bring to the organization?  How does a reader of an article/listener of a radio spot/watcher of a TV mention/Tweeter/Facebook poster or blog surfer actually convert to a lead, a prospect and eventually a client?  What the ROI of that interaction?  How can we better align ourselves with influencers to become part of the discussion?  How can we predict future trends and outcomes?  Putting a value on your communications is becoming increasingly more important in today's business world and If you can't quantify/qualify your results - what's the point?