Brands Are Not Yet Social, But The People Who Love Them Are

Harvard Business Review Analytics Services on behalf of SAS surveyed 2100 companies and found that just 12% of the companies surveyed believed they were currently effective users of social media, according to Media Post’s Social Graf blog.

…almost nine out of ten respondents relegated themselves to the “ineffective” pile. But this is hardly surprising in light of some other figures from the same study: for example, 75% of the companies surveyed said they didn’t know where their customers were talking about them online, while 31% said they don’t measure the effectiveness of social media, and just 23% said they are using social media analytics tools.
The implications of the Harvard-SAS study are quite clear: social media, for all the buzz and excitement, is far from having “arrived” in most important sense. Indeed, any discipline in which 69% of practitioners fail to measure the impact of their efforts can only be described as experimental. The real question is: when is it going to leave the experimental phase?

I get another clear message from the Harvard-SAS study. The great majority of clients in this survey need help with their social media marketing that they’re presently not getting. Providing metrics is a great place to start, but that’s far from the only thing social media marketing needs to be seen as valuable to the enterprise.
The question for business owners and brand managers is do you want people to find your brand interesting, modern and open? Do you want people to share what they find interesting about your brand with their friends and family? Great, then a content strategy is in order and a team that can execute this strategy is needed. When you have the plan and the team and you’re consistently creating compelling content and actively participating in the larger community around the brand, then yes, you will also benefit greatly from metrics and the ability to make sense of them.
Bottom line, social media marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. And I’ve never met a client who doesn’t want to activate word-of-mouth, although I have met a few who don’t want a Facebook page.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.