Posted by Mark Abrams
Are you the head of a service firm looking to cash in on this historic socio-economic trend? Are you an avid blogger, social-media enthusiast, new marketing tech or "conversation" guru? Then this article is a must read. Here we grapple with and finally resolve what Chris Heuer, President of the Social Media Club, appropriately refers to as “pushing a boulder uphill." Although the spread of social media has been a global phenomenon, it still seems to inspire significant resistance on the corporate front.
First, let's constructively confront our mistakes. Unfortunately, this social media stuff has its roots in tech where strict business rationale is not a common occurrence. ITs have historically had carte blanche. Like lawyers, how much it's going to cost is equal to whatever it takes. As such, the typical once-removed 3rd-cousin-by-marriage SM geek has co-opted that very same posture, i.e. the "smarter than" persona. When pushed to generally accepted standards of due diligence and formal business case rationale, the typical reaction in the "community" is that the oldsters "just don't get it".
Not good. Regrettably, counter-intuitively, the appearance of unbridled arrogance has only led to market confusion and even greater demand for reason. The C-suite apparently has all but rejected "well, because."
Fact is, this is no small problem. Business is now calling the entire fad a bubble. Practically speaking, at the very least, the uptake of the "paradigm shift" in business now seems to be all but stalled.
Here we try to break that log jam by providing the 10 most important reasons why social media is a must! This should serve as a baseline for all our subsequent discussions. Here, we, too, convert the audacity of hope into "yes we can."
TOP TEN REASONS
1. The above notwithstanding, social media's roots in tech are a plus. Let's be honest; few if any of our SM peers can necessarily code but by proxy we can absolutely lay claim to the perception of innovation. All of us in social media have actual coders as "friendz" in Facebook. We need to underscore that fact. We may not actually know more but we could if we had to. In business, that's a powerful argument. Yes we can.
2. Social media is a very effective tool for small companies with little to lose and renegade NGOs that want to make a difference, i.e. attack. Remember, the Web is first and foremost a disruptive disintermediation tool. To quote social media wonk Stowe Boyd: "We are trying to get companies to disadvantage themselves through the adoption of open dialogue. Well, that's our dream." Yes we can.
3. We need to stress that social media is low risk. We don't charge that much because we can pay employees next to nothing. Bottom line: It may not be all that demonstratively effective but who cares. Yes we can.
4. The "Social Media Movement" is a universal good no different than the promise of America: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore," etc. But now SM has the unique ability to not only empower the otherwise disenfranchised mass but radically redistribute wealth. Joseph Goebbels, the Great Uncle of Modern PR, wrote at length about going directly to the people. It led to one of the most prolific redistributions of wealth in modern history... right down to family heirlooms, rings, jewelry and even gold fillings. Yes we can.
5. All things social media is a new potential income stream for PR/marketing. Frankly, the looming recession promises budget constriction that demands a greater commitment to new-new-must-haves-or-you'll-surely-die-services. But, that aside, agencies like Edelman are so publicly invested in this that if their "Me2Revolution" goes South it's gonna look bad for all of us. When the Shift hits the fan, few if any are going to be able to say that they were not a part of the hype. So actually, we've got no choice. Yes we can.
6. Stowe Boyd, Neville Hobson, et al. need this consulting gig. They're not dopes, really; they just took a wrong turn someplace and are now apparently stuck without any transferable marketable skills. Sure, we could abandon them but what if the next time it's you. Think about it. Yes we can.
7. SM has spirited the conference industry. With the rise of social media, our trade journals have become less relevant, less compelling, more toady with each passing minute. As this is, for instance, probably Ragan Communications' last hurrah, shouldn't they be able to make a few bucks on their exit? I mean c'mon. Scamming dupes is deeply rooted in PR tradition. Yes we can.
8. For us true believers that bought Google stock, commitment to social media helps shore up our fading investment. Ya gotta know that it's only a matter of time before the company's capricious and unregulated, de facto algorithm is gonna attract the attention of Congress and govenment oversight. Then what? We have an opportunity to help keep that at bay. SM services and the rallying cries of "democracy" and "free speech," help maintain Google's perception of ubiquity and as such its market value. Yes we can.
9. SOCIAL MEDIA HELPS THE ECONOMY! We are inspired by Rick Murray, President of Edelman's Me2Revolution, who last year announced that his group was helping the economy by supporting Second Life. In Murray's own words: "Anytime you can bring fake people together spending real money on fake things to create value. What we're doing right now is not so much being a PR agency but fostering further growth in the economy." Bottom line: By focusing on schlock and not quality, at the very least we can argue that we help speed up transactions. Yes we can.
And lastly, 10. Generally speaking, by keeping actual "proof" always in the future, that keeps us all hopeful; and hope makes people feel happy. And ya can't do much better than that.
Let's get back to the audacity of hope in social media. Can I hear a "Yes... we... can"?