A decade back, social media was a lesser-known phenomenon. With time, it emerged as a handy online tool to keep in touch with friends and family over the internet. Wikis and blogs gained momentum but largely in the context of personal use or for informational purposes. Since then, the social media scenario has changed every year, for the better.
While businesses were earlier reluctant to try social media, it’s now emerging as a norm rather than an exception amongst business owners across a variety of vertical segments.
SFU Social Media Study
A recent research from Simon Fraser University evaluates the level of commitment that businesses must make if they want their brands to succeed via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Unsurprisingly, the research concludes that social media is no longer a choice in the business world.
Businesses need to engage with their customers through social media channels despite the inherent risks involved in ceding control of their brands to social media channels. Half hearted measures usually fetch half as good the results and social media is no exception to that rule.
The SFU research is based on extensive academic research conducted by PhD students Kirk Plangger and Anjali Bal in the areas of e-marketing and technology adoption by organizations.
While I agree with some of the findings from SFU’s social media research, at the same time, I believe the business world hasn’t matured enough as of now for social media to emerge as a necessity rather than a choice. There’s a serious lack of social media education in the enterprise world, more so amongst the small business segment.
It’s true that social media lip service won’t do any good to a business. However, do a majority of small business owners know how to leverage Facebook and Twitter for a two-way engagement with their customers. Despite being an active social media loyalist and practitioner, I’m forced to say that there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Sure, the business world has shown its “willingness to participate” in the ongoing social media revolution in bits and pieces, but it lacks critical mass in the small to midsize business world. I have no doubt that we’d eventually get there in a few years from now.
Social media is here to stay and evolve. While it’s currently a choice for small business owners, it would eventually be a necessity sooner than later. If you’ve still not tapped social media as an opportunity for your business, now’s a good time as ever to do so.