The HP Social Media Guide
of social media’s worth, they are less inclined to create a strategy, let alone one that is integrated in
tomarketing and communications activity.
This is a recipe for failure. In fact, some, including Altimeter’s
,argue that social media’s
contribution now goes beyond just marketing
companies should be creating coherent strategies that formpart of broader business objectives and demonstrate a clear link to the bottom line.
Why use social media?
Part of the difficulty is in defining it, determining what the business wants from social media, and decidinghow to measure it.
has become a catch-all for the so-
called ‘Web 2.0’ websites that thrive on
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, wikis and a growing number of newplatforms are popping up to encourage online conversations and sharing.Businesses recognise the opportunity inherent here, but
from discussing the term ‘ROI’.
This is partly because its value is intangible, residing in the conversations social media enable, the accessthey afford to existing and potential customers, the engagement and collaboration they foster.Outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Xing and Quora fuel what Dachis Group
’s DavidArmano called ‘the conversation economy’. They are a
boon for small businesses, which now have the
same reach as larger organisations and the ability to reach individuals on a scale that would’ve been
prohibitively expensive pre-Web 2.0.The numbers alone should be persuasive: 750 million people are on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter, 100million on LinkedIn, over 2,000 local meet-ups are arranged through Meetup.com.
It’s also a great leveller. “Small businesses have huge opportunities to delight the customer using social
and to take bigger rivals d
Chris Lake, director of innovation at digital marketing expertsEconsultancy.Its research has also found people increasingly keen on using social outlets as their primarycustomer service channel.At its best, social media provide businesses with fast feedback, the opportunity to amplify messages virally,more business opportunities, contacts and potential customers, faster growth, a low cost promotional
tool… But all this come
s with a caveat: they can also be a serious time waster.
“There’s a danger in small businesses being reactive, or getting involved to keep up with the Joneses,” adds
.“Just because a competitor is active on Twitter andFacebook, doesn’t mean they are profiting from it.”
According to the Jive survey, 62 percent of executives believe social media have the potential to improvecustomer loyalty and service levels, while 57 percent believe a social business strategy could increaserevenue or sales. And of course, there are intangible benefits around brand visibility and customerperceptions but the challenge is quantifying the benefit.