According to the “Small Business Marketing Forecast 2010” from Ad-ology, the majority of small businesses have not yet fully embraced social media to benefit their businesses.
The study reported that while Facebook seems to be the most popular social network of choice, the majority (53%) of mom-and-pop stores still have not taken advantage of it. And while YouTube has reached 100 million U.S. viewers, 73% of small retailers did not use it.
The survey respondents reasoned that, while they were all aware of social media buzz, they were not on the social media bandwagon because they didn’t have time and staff and claimed that their customers were not on social networks. The study attributed the social media absence in this business segment to the lack of knowledge and understanding and suggested that educational efforts are in order.
This is a good example of where one’s awareness of an issue is not enough to spur an adoption. We social media enthusiasts may be preaching to the choir and believe everybody should sing along. But it may take longer time and more evidence on how social media affects the bottom line before small businesses see any values of and invest in social networks.
I have not checked stats of my old posterous posts for a while so I was surprised and amused that my most viewed post (135 times so far) is the photo of a tree I took in the fall when all its leaves were fallen. I titled it, “Naked.” That was my first impression when I took that picture and in some way with sadness because the tree was so pretty in the summer and spring. By no means that I intended to mislead and drive my readers (I don’t have many anyway) to read my post, or in this case, to look at the picture. But obviously, the title is the culprit with a lot of help from search engines and peeps with, well, curious mind. Although I doubt that the post will go up high in the Google search, but nonetheless it did get some hits, probably by folks who may have kept clicking “next” on the search results. I wonder if they were mad at me when all they saw was a plain, cold, boring and, well, naked tree.
“Preliminary data suggests that boys and girls may use their phones differently,” noted Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, marketing and strategic planning at MRI, in a statement. “Girls are more apt to make calls and send text messages while boys are more likely to instant message, access the Internet and download games, music and video.”
Marketers spent $800 million in 2009 on social media and an estimate of $1 billion in 2010, a growth of 35%. What is encouraging is that dollars were not spent much on online ads or banners but on PR, marketing and research. What a refreshing change!
As I am gearing up to teach social media class for the second time in the spring semester, I found this article very insightful and inspiring. (Last year’s class site is here.)
This article confirms my intention to go beyond teaching students social media tools and focus more on conceptual fundamentals, data mining and research (as the author suggested), strategies and measurement. Legal and ethical issues also need to be addressed.
I have a few suggestions I’d like to add to the list. First, I think social media teachers MUST also be avid social media users and producers. They need to keep abreast of latest developments, learn and try up-and-coming tools, and must be present on social media platforms continuously. They must blog, know how to use different social media platforms themselves and use them regularly (I have to admit I am guilty of that myself!). This is a time-consuming and, at times, overwhelming job that requires them to be online (or check their smartphone) almost 24-7. But at the end of the semester it will be all worth it when students (I hope!) tell their professors how much they have learned.
Another suggestion I’d like to add is, because social media communication has impacts on or implications to various aspects of businesses, professions, and even ways we communicate, it’s always helpful to have guest speakers (in person or via video-conference) to share their social media expertise and insights in different areas they practice.