"That won't work for our company."
"We don't need a content calendar."
"Just post whatever on (Facebook/Twitter) and promote us."
"We know we should develop a content/social strategy. We'll get around to it sometime."
These are some of the responses I have gotten from former bosses when I pleaded with them to develop a social media strategy. Over the years, I've heard colleagues share similar workplace experiences with me. The first and third quotes are the most troubling. One is not true, and the other needs to realize that "sometime" is now or never.
Even though I have experience with social media and content marketing, I recognize that I need to expand my knowledge. So, I've begun the coursework to get a Social Media Marketing Certificate from Northwestern University. I can tell you just in the early days of the program, I've gotten a broader understanding of how the marketing landscape has evolved in recent years.
I've seen insights and stats that clearly show why effective social media strategies are so imperative in today's marketplace. I realized if I didn't know some of this data, those bosses probably didn't know them either. Therefore, it could be one of the key reasons why so many businesses have not embraced social media. This realization began with sessions featuring Professors Randy Hlavac and Judy Ungar Franks. Franks discussed the "chaos" seen in the marketing space today. She pointed out that the media ecosystem has evolved from a Newtonian Machine to more of an Einstein Landscape.
You chose a media that you completely understood in purpose and functionality.
You didn't have to worry about excessive media overlap.
You could put 90 percent of your resources in one media, and go light on the others.
Content was straightforward and predictably sequential. It launched from Point A and traveled directly to Point B. You rarely had to worry about any kind of disruption.
There is media overlap - think about how much of it is seen on a screen.
Now you have to combine media in order to provide the user with more fully engaging experiences.
That same user (or customer) can take your content and continue its journey via another media circuit.
At the center of it all is this - the consumer now CONTROLS the marketplace. As an audience, they are now a recipient and an accelerate of your content. Companies and brands have to recognize this and learn about media/brand management. This is because you can't take old-school traditional marketing strategies and effectively use them in the new media.
In IBM's "Any" Challenge, they highlighted that companies have to be consumer-driven because they control the marketplace. You have to tailor to them and provide them with a consistent experience on all platforms.
One of the most powerful ways the consumer controls the market space is through suggestion. An extremely popular reason why people buy something is due to a friend or family suggestion seen online. Plus, several top search results for the top 25 largest brands come from user-generated content (i.e., blogs about products/brands).
Social media is not just a fun fad. It is a fundamental shift in communication and it's now the number one activity on the web. If that wasn't enough to get attention, this certificate program bombarded me with some amazing statistics like:
The ROI of social media is your business will still EXIST in five years.
Eventually that number is going to go from years to months. By that time, trying to finally embrace social media will be even harder because you'll be so far behind.
The clock is ticking. So, embrace it and learn it.
If you take too long to learn about a platform or strategy, your audience may have already found something new. That's the point - consumers and competitors in the social media realm are going to move on with or without you.
Obviously, I highly recommend getting training through certificate programs like the one I'm taking at Northwestern. Here pretty soon, I'm going to have a better way to explain to companies why they should invest in social media marketing and provide them with an even more effective way to drive it.