No question, those who studied the shift in our socioeconomic landscape come all to the same conclusion: Social Media holds a massive change for our society and our businesses. The change will be as profound as the industrial revolution 200 years ago.
Introducing that change to executives who run their business with a huge daily pressure is so overwhelming that it is a very natural behavior to go into denial. You hear “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, “I don’t see an immediate ROI”, “My fellow executives from other companies aren’t using Social Media either”… The reasons to ignore it are most likely equally diverse as the reasons to ignore the development of cities and companies 200 years ago. My personal prediction is that it may take well another 5 to 10 years for the majority of businesses to recognize the impact of that change and what it means to their business. And the more people warn “If you don’t adopt, you will fall through the cracks”, the less likely business executives will even listen.
Denial is a mechanic of our psyche that sets in when the amount of information or the degree of danger is so large that the brain is not able to comprehend it. So here is why Social Media Managers keep failing:
1) Thousands of people – like you and me – have gone through a learning curve, comprehending the seismic shift in our business society. But it took us a year or more of learning and thinking to get there. Most who began to recognize the shift are pounding on business leaders to recognize it too and get ready for change.
2) A business executive who is very focused on keeping the company or their division afloat and fighting on all ends for growth and profitability, competing in a taught global economy, has probably less time to even start comprehending the change. And the more people talk about apocalyptic business erosion the more those managers go into denial.
Even though people get hired to ‘manage’ Social Media – to many have zero pull through in their respective organizations and remain to be an alibi function for executives to be able to say “Oh yes, we did invest in social media, we even have a management position and doing it for quite a while. We are totally covered”.
In a recent research we asked 100 companies about their social media engagement and 72% confirmed that they are very active and happy with their results, 21% are exploring social media but will not engage before middle of next year and 17% stated that they don’t see a benefit and therefor have no plans to engage.
Now – checking out the level of engagement of the 72%, is very easy because everything is public and very transparent. We realized that nearly 80% of those 72% have only a very rudimentary presence, very low engagement level with customer and inquires or questions unanswered for weeks. Only a small group has actually recognized the opportunity and developed a highly engaging online presence with apparently very active customers.
The larger part of social media managers apparently work heads down, trying to keep a low profile (and the job) and don’t making any major inroads helping the business to make significant progress in this highly transparent and communicative world. They simply keep failing. We recognized this by seeing an increasing churn in social media positions.
The key reasons for failing are:
- Lack of a profound social media strategy
- Lack of comprehensive experience what it means to build a customer engagement
- Lack of market research skills and reporting
- Lack of management skills to present a business relevant plan without overwhelming executives with details and technical aspects
- Lack of skills aligning social media activities with overall business objectives