How long did it take you to figure out that social media wasn’t just a fad? For some businesses, it didn’t take long. However, some businesses are still not convinced that there is actual business value in social media.
As discussed in the video on the left, we do have to cut businesses some slack for thinking this way given the track record of trends in technology. Some last, but the majority of trends fade away. Incidentally, some trends have evolved off of other ideas such as Facebook and Foursquare.
Even though this way of thinking is understandable, traditional businesses need to realize that social media is not about a specific website or tool. Instead, it’s about reaching and connecting with consumers in a way that emphasizes relationships.
Apart from thinking social is a fad, businesses also complain that it doesn’t have a return on investment. I think Chris Brogan handles this objection best by comparing the ROI of a telephone to social media. Most businesses would not dare question the ROI of their telephone because they believe the results are what matter. So, where does the cost of the telephone bill fit in?
Unlike a pay-per-click campaign, a telephone adds the most value over time through repeated calls and conversations. Brogan believes social media should be looked upon in the same manner.
Thirdly, businesses say that they don’t have enough time or money to invest in social media. Wrong again. What they don’t realize is that, in most cases, they can’t afford to live without it. Through social media, businesses actually have the opportunity to save money.
Businesses have to participate in making cold calls, traveling to meetings and trade shows, attending networking events, and many other activities that can become costly. However, social media gives people the ability to conduct these very activities from their home office. Since social media is so personal, it usually means that, when traveling is necessary, the results will be better.
The next argument that businesses make against social media is the fact that they can’t control their message. I’m not intending to start an argument, but did businesses ever have control of their message?
Another fact that businesses neglect to realize is that they actually can have some control of their message if they themselves send it out. If they let others spread it, the message may be misinterpreted or inaccurate. When this happens, it is much harder for businesses to get their real message out.
Fifthly, businesses also think that they cannot have privacy in social media. Taking it one step further, some even believe that the competition will see too much about them. This objection is false because businesses would expose the same amount of information on social channels that it would expose in another marketing effort. Social media should be viewed as just another means of marketing.
Last of all, businesses fear that social media makes them more vulnerable to legal issues. Although social media can be difficult for highly regulated industries, just about any type of business can still use it. If your business falls into the category of heavily regulated, like the legal or finance industry, you should receive consent from your attorney before you launch a social campaign.
Another precaution that businesses can take to fend off legal challenges is to create and incorporate a social media policy for employees. This type of policy lets users know what they can and can’t say on social channels.
While some of these objections are valid, they all fail to consider the fact that social media has changed the world. It has changed how consumers behave and interact with businesses and brands, and it has also made them practically expect social capabilities. With this knowledge in mind, do you still think social media is a fad?
About the Author:
Abby Johnson is a Video Reporter/Anchor for SmallBusinessNewz.