If you, or some business exec you know, hasn’t embraced social media yet because you still think the payoff is negligible—well, you haven’t been doing your homework. We understand that business executives have a lot on their mind, and maybe not a lot of time to engage in Twitter or Facebook. But that doesn’t mean they should underestimate the power of social media.
A telling new article on Mashable titled “Hootsuite Adds Features to Help Prevent Twitter Meltdowns” basically gave away the fact that now major brands are paying social media groups to tweet their advertising messages. Hootsuite, for those who don’t know, is a website and online brand management service which publishes to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, MySpace, and WordPress—as well as being a Twitter client. It’s basically like a headquarters for all your social media avatars. The article is about the service adding a new feature called Secure Profiles, which allows users to confirm or cancel tweets before sending them—just so the wrong message won’t be sent to the wrong account. Embarrassing if you mix brand messaging.
Obviously, many in the business community are already on the right track. A 2010 survey by StrongMail found that business executives were already pushing their new budgets toward email marketing (69% of respondents), social media (59%) and SEO (42%).
Just today (April 1, 2011) an article titled “Social Software for Business No “Jive’ Talk” in The Wall Street Journal addressed the recent demand for new social media software to manage relationships with customers and suppliers. As the article points out, “according to a survey of 140 companies conducted by Altimeter Group, 82% of businesses have invested in some form of online brand monitoring software.”
Yet you still might find business execs asking why is social media so important? Just ask them if they thought the phone was important 50 years ago to business. Social media is the new phone, where customers use these channels to communicate about brands, and they now except some kind of official response along these same channels. Using social media can allow you to not only learn more about what people are saying about your company, but also your competitors and your industry as a whole.
The metrics can be tied mainly to three things:
General awareness for your company
Driving sales for your company
Engendering loyalty for your company (referrals, etc.)
And we’re still just at the beginning of this thing. So just remember, the ‘blocks’ that many business execs can have toward social media are almost certainly hurting the bottom line.