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Businesses to be taught a good Social Media lesson?

Monday, 8 December 2008 — by

Times are hard. Businesses need to stick to marketing methods that are proven and Social Media is still an unknown quantity…

The needs of many small businesses are being abandoned in the mad rush to get ahead of the technological curve, to be there when the “next big thing” arrives. This is a thankless endeavor.

It’s also a race without an obvious finishing line, certainly not one that small businesses will either appreciate or even understand.

This is a notion that’s been occupying my mind for quite a while. So much so, I identified this knowledge gap as a legitimate niche, just waiting to be filled.

It’s not like I was on my own, either; Greg Verdino recently wrote about the perils of chasing after the next big thing in Social Media:

“I’ve often pointed out that social media insiders need to remember that they are ahead of the curve and can’t assume that the rest of world is as excited about (or even aware of) the latest, greatest presence applications, mobile social networks or any other new thing that the gods of Web 2.0 throw our way.”

Jordan Willms reckons “Old school” ad units are beating the @#$% out of Emerging Media, and I think he’s right:

“Social media (or Social Influence Marketing) is a ubiquitous and fragmented landscape that companies have struggled with in order to leverage digital media effectively.

Add onto that the fact that with social media spend it is very hard to measure return on investment (ROI).”

Right now, money is tight and people in business won’t even consider Social Media, if they don’t understand what it is. So what’s the solution?

Educating businesses about Social Media

Like I said, I’d seen that small businesses were being largely ignored when the social media conversation is started. But that’s not the extent of the problem; Social Media, much like anything else, is a difficult proposition for any business when poorly understood.

Here in Britain, the uptake of Social Media by businesses is low, whereas in the US, the numbers are much better.

I still firmly believe that it’s too early for mainstream businesses to take on Social Media at a level that demonstrates the key strengths of Social Media, which we se being touted by the Apple’s, Nike’s, Sony’s and the Barack Obama’s of this world:

“This is […] an on-going theme that will be a weakness of Social Media as a marketing activity for those other 99% of the businesses out there selling green widgets and red doodads, unless those businesses are prepared to learn and engage.”

For me, the first thing blogs like mine (and internet consultants like me) need to do is educate businesses, explaining to them in simple terms what Social Media is — which is why I decided to write an ebook entitled: The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media.

Equipping businesses with the knowledge they need to begin the process of chosing for themselves the best route forward, or to at least enter into the Social Media conversation to ask the right questions is for me the first and most important step…

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