Barack Obama started using social media and the marketing gurus went “Oh my God, he`s a genius, now all we have to do is use his name to promote this and voila, clients will be lining up to buy social media marketing (SMM) services”. Well, it didn`t quite happen that way. And the wonderful case study that was “Presidential candidate Barack Obama” now became a not-so-active name on various online portals including, Twitter, where from November 2008 to May 2009, his twitter update has had five posts. Yep, only five posts in six months.
So what is happening in the Social Media world right now?
Well, first of all, social media website use has exploded with millions of people using popular Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and dozens of others. I personally “play” and “work” on many but my favorites remain Twitter and Facebook.
Celebrities and politicians seem to have found a way to pontificate one-way to their audiences. I say pontificate because most of these are rarely engaged in a two-way discussion, more times sending out their updates but not really engaging with others who may wish to interact with them. Politicians and celebrities across the globe have taken their messages to their fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.
However, millions of users and dozens of so-called SMM experts later, I find that small business remain offline and positively scared of using social media websites.
The business owners I interact with when I`m speaking at an event or when I`m networking offline (yes I still do that) are concerned about using social media websites to promote themselves. They are worried about the lack of privacy and a misconception that they need to be technically savvy to use such websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. These same business owners also mention lack of time and lack of trained “marketing” resources which prevent them from taking the social media marketing plunge.
For marketers, social media marketing means a huge opportunity. The opportunity comes from being able to demonstrate actual results to end clients in the form of visibility and generated buzz.
For small businesses who have taken the social media marketing plunge, it means visibility at low cost. For everyone, Social Media Marketing means; buzz, visibility, website traffic and leads, assuming SMM is executed properly.