Yes Virginia, social media client-engagement IS a myth!

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2009/10/15 · 24 comments 11,449 views

in b why benchmark failures,c corporate blogging,c micro-blogging Twitter,e marketing 101 serving a need

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While the c-suite may encourage the company to use Facebook or Twitter to reach out and engage with customers, employees’ access may be blocked. At the same time, the company’s own marketing experts may still have difficulty figuring out the benefits to using such tools – think KPIs or Key Performance Behavior.

We address some of these issues and de-bunk some of the myths in this post.

Web 2.0 changes consumer behavior – NOT
=> Neither Twitter nor Facebook need apply

What changes things is technology and how we use it. Accordingly, Twitter is another way to communicate using the web or the mobile phone to share tweets. The technology is what opened opportunities to communicate differently and much more easily with more people.

Twitter is an application that might become a success but asking

is posing the wrong question.

Consumer behavior is still such that people try to collect information in order to find the product that best suits their needs. As well, providing better value for less money than competitive choices would influences the purchasing decision.

Companies are benefiting from Web 2.0
=> NOT at this stage, experts believe

The above headline recently came out of the McKinsey Global Survey Results (and no, you cannot access the survey findings unless you pay – another example of how McKinsey may not understand Web 2.0, where such content builds reputation for free). According to the press release, top managers and CEOs see numerous benefits from Twitter and Facebook.

Image - Connect with Urs E. Gattiker on TwitterIn contrast to the McKinsey findings, marketing experts in the same firms still have some problems seeing how Web 2.0 technology helps their companies. For instance, a recent survey conducted with 271 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), VPs of marketing and marketing directors in June 2009 in the US found that:

    – almost 70 percent of marketers say they have never made a change to their products or marketing campaigns based on consumer feedback on social media sites,
    – 43 percent said lack of knowledge and expertise prevents them from using social media in their marketing programs, and
    – 39 percent report that they are not convinced of social media’s value or Return on Investment (ROI).

    Download study: PRWeek – Social Media Survey 2009 – need to register BUT you get the report for free.

Of course, some felt social media could help but the majority still feels it’s difficult to nail down the benefits.

Companies want to engage more with clients
=> NOT yet

Considering that monitoring customer attitudes and gaining business intelligence are the top two business uses of social media, if marketers fail to use it to improve products or marketing efforts, how can engagement work from within the company’s walls?

For starters, even government agencies and departments are unsure how to address Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Xing use in the workplace:
Image - Connect with Urs E. Gattiker on Twitter

Furthermore, banks like Credit Suisse and UBS have also blocked access to these sites. Besides these companies’ difficulties getting employees to use these tools wisely, usage policies often do not help matters:

How such a usage policy can help foster greater brand awareness, brand knowledge and client-engagement remains a mystery.

Bonus: Read More Than Half of Employers Now Block Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, which consists telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the US with 100 or more employees => only 10 percent allow employees to use social networks as they like, about 36 percent impose restrictions.

Bottom line
On 2008-12-17, we pointed out that self-employed workers already account for nearly a third of the US workforce – up more than 25 percent in the last two years. Self-employed individuals continue to use Facebook and Twitter extensively, while still making a living and paying the rent on their office space.

At this juncture, how much social networks like MySpace or Twitter will help firms reach customers remains unclear. This is especially true for corporate clients or those that want to use social media marketing for B2B activities. Also, for smaller companies scalability and limited resources are critical in this game (see
Social media marketing: 3 golden rules for making it work).


    Social media marketing requires employee education – tell employees how to best use social media for whatever purpose and encourage discussions amongst them to foster continuous improvement.
    The company’s social media policy should be straightforward and provide guidance – this helps employees find their voice.
    Learning takes time, while drastic measures fail more often than not – prohibiting the use of Facebook or Twitter could send clients a conflicting message if their brand or company tries to reach out to customers.

More resources about social media marketing and the c-suite:

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