Jan 02 As Social Media Takes Off, Most Marketers Get it Wrong
Most progressive marketers seem to understand the importance of social media by now. If they donâ€™t, a new report by eMarketer suggests that they need to, and fast. According to the report by Strategy Analytics, more than one billion broadband users will be on social media applications by 2012, which is only 5 years from now. Thatâ€™s quite an increase from 2007â€™s paltry 373 million.
The report goes on to say that U.S. users of social networks in particular (as opposed to global users of all social media applications) are also growing quickly.
Currently, 38% of all U.S. Internet users (over age 3) will use social networking in the last month. Thatâ€™s 78 million folks. In this country. Wow.
But as head of a social media agency, Iâ€™m left to puzzle over how so many marketers are getting it wrong when it comes to engaging in the social media landscape.
The eMarketer report talks all about advertising on social media properties. Thatâ€™s very important to the long term viability of Facebook, et al, but itâ€™s missing the forest for the trees. Weâ€™ve written before about whether Facebook will ever be viable to the point of justifying their huge valuations. (And Iâ€™m personally pretty skeptical.)
If we had 78 million potential customers sitting in our lobby each month, would our answer be to hang an ad in the lobby? If we had 1 billion potential customers walking around outside our offices, many of whom wanted to talk about what we do, would we drop press releases out the window? (I suspect some CMOs would, actually, as Pavlovian conditioning is very strongâ€¦)
Social mediaâ€™s future is bright. These statistics are pretty compelling. What marketers have to figure out is how to engage with this opportunity, in addition to advertise to it. Itâ€™s affordable. Itâ€™s just really strange at first. Hopefully these 50%-plus annual growth rates will convince more folks to tryâ€¦
Ok, off the soapbox (for now).