Some people call me a social media “expert” or “guru” and I have to tell you, it makes me rather uncomfortable. I humbly refer to myself as a specialist because the accumulation, translation and exchange of knowledge about online marketing occurs at such a rapid pace, it’s challenging for any of us to keep up. However, I think it’s fair to say that I have a certain level of expertise in this field since businesses have come to trust me to develop their social media marketing campaigns and deliver results. BUT! I recently discovered I made a big mistake and I’ve been making it for months!
Imagine this scenario: I am in my office anywhere from 12-16 hours a day many days of the week surrounded by social media strategies, campaign development, graphics, video, landing page designs, and constantly working with the Inspire and Acquire team to decide on the most creative ways to bring more prospects and customers to my clients. I am continually cocooned by some aspect of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and clients’ blogs, with traces of Tumblr, Pinterest, and StumpleUpon around my feet (to name a few). I am consumed.
So what is this enormous mistake that I, a social media superstar (I’m a legend in my own mind), made in my business? I overestimated the importance and perceived value that businesses are placing on marketing through social media.
My educational background is psychology, thus I have a tendency to analyze behaviour at times so let’s take a look at some facts that may have contributed to my social media delusion:
- Businesses are thriving despite reduced spending in traditional forms of advertising (e.g. trade publications) because some have realized the importance and benefit of online marketing. eMarketer reported last week that advertisers will spend $2.61 billion on mobile this year and that mobile advertising was up last year 89% from the previous year. Eighty-nine percent!
- In The B2B Social Media Book authors Bodnar and Cohen describe in great detail how businesses can leverage social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email and blogging to generate leads and drive revenue.
- Acccording to a Forrester report released in March of 2011, 30 percent of global manufacturers intend to increase social media investments in 2012.
- 93% of B2B marketers use social media marketing.
- Jaime Tardy of Eventual Millionaire says that most of the millionaires he interviews use social media (or have someone in their company use it for them). Hmmm, let’s see – successful people utilizing social media…..
For the last month I have been in daily phone calls with a (specific and unnamed) industry expert who is proclaiming that his sector needs my help because, “They just don’t get it!” It wasn’t until I started to speak with some of the people in his industry that I began to realize the sad state of business owners’ social media knowledge and impact. To hear intelligent people say, “One day we’ll be at the point where businesses will have to engage in online marketing” makes me want to tear my hair out! I hate to admit it but @josiecino points out (correctly) in the Tumblr blog post, Is Your Brand Ready To Be Social that, “Surprisingly, there are a lot of business owners out there who aren’t aware of what social media actually is (or how it can benefit their company). And there are some companies that are on social media networks, but aren’t quite sure why. In both cases, they just know they need to be on it.”
If you work in the area of online marketing or social media, let my recent revelation be your admonition: Don’t stop preaching the social media message, educating your clients and potential clients because unfortunately, they still don’t ‘get it’ and until they do, we can’t help their businesses grow. Business owners in all sectors need to realize the value in social media before they will utilize it. My professional diagnosis: our work, my friends, is just beginning.
Connect with Me – Lets Help Businesses Succeed With Social Media