Monday, July 28, 2008

Why "do you use social media?" is the wrong question for marketers to ask

Have you noticed there are a bunch of polls and research reports that ask people questions such as "Do you read blogs?" or "Do you use social media?" or "Do you go to video sharing sites?" Often the resulting data show rather small use compared to those who, say, use search engines or email.

From the perspective of the value of social media in an organization's overall marketing and PR efforts, this data is misleading and dangerous. Why? Because the data is used by social-media-resistant executives to justify sticking exclusively to the methods that worked decades ago like image advertising, direct mail, and the yellow pages. I frequently hear CEOs, CFOs, and VPs of marketing say things like: "See, social media is not important, so we won't do it here. It is a waste of time." Other people say: "I don't read blogs, so how important are they?"

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