Why It’s Critical to Start Your Social Media Program – Now

Most of us lived through the dot-com boom and bust. Like grizzled veterans we are instinctually skeptical about the next new thing. For many, social media marketing falls into the category of potentially dangerous distractions. However, jumping to this conclusion is more dangerous than giving social media a second look.

Why?

Social is popular for a good reason. With over 800 million people regularly using Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, business marketers know have access to the largest audience since the heyday of network TV.

Reaching this audience is getting easier by the moment. Every social network including the precocious upstart, Google+ is scrambling to package its audience into targeted media opportunities. Even more important though is that the cost of reaching this audience is still relatively cheap.

While there are valid reasons to be cautious when developing a social media marketing program, it’s becoming ludicrous to sit on the sidelines.

Why the Philistines will Get Crushed

As more businesses seek a competitive advantage with B2C social media marketing, social contrarians are finding it hard to adopt a wait and see attitude.

The problem is while you wait:

1. Your competitors are establishing brand leadership
2. Your competitor’s customers are recommending products and services to their friends.
3. Your current advertising is steadily eroding in value as it get’s trumped by high-trust social communications
4. Your are missing the window to test and gain valuable expertise while social is still cheap

Let’s dig in a little deeper:

Brand Leadership:
Social brands are using Facebook to reinforce why they are market leaders. Think about how Coke has aggressively leveraged its brand on Facebook and Twitter to kick Pepsi out of the #2 spot.

Other fast moving companies are marrying robust thought leadership programs with blogs, twitter promotion, and Facebook discussions to position themselves as industry leaders.

Your Competitor’s Customers are Killing You:
Every time your competitor interacts with their customers on Facebook, these communications ripple outward into the customer’s social network. This is free advertising for the price of a single post. Sitting on the sidelines cripples your customer’s ability to spread the word about your brand forcing you to use more expensive tools to solicit their support.

Your Current Advertising is Eroding in Value:

Just like a new car driving off the dealer lot, your traditional advertising dollars are eroding in value. We already know about the fragmenting of TV viewer audiences and how DVRs are making commercials extinct. But, something more profound is happening, prospects have lost trust in traditional advertising. According to Nielsen, only 14% of consumers trust advertising. Ouch.

On the other hand, 78% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers and family. Increasingly these recommendations are coming from a message on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Social Media Learning is Cheap (for now):

Profiles are still free on all of the social networks.

You don’t have to pay to tweet, Facebook, or make updates to LinkedIn. Even though the best social media monitoring tools like Sysomos cost a bundle, you can still cobble together a decent view of your social activity with free tools. This means that you can start listening to your customers, analyzing your competitor’s efforts, and engage with your prospects at low risk.

On the other hand, playing catch-up against a well-entrenched social brand is getting more expensive everyday. Worse, playing catch-up often leads to embarrassing mistakes as a team tries to understand the complexity of social media marketing. Rapidly developing expertise or getting help with your social media program – now is the best way to sidestep these problems

What’s Holding You Back?

Tell us, what’s holding your organization back from deploying your social media marketing strategy?