Presenting Social Media to the Social-Media-Challenged Organization

I’m wrapping up the 3rd week in my short course on a course focusing on social media within the enterprise, and I’m repeatedly finding myself driven to the same discussion topic. I believe that the topic is driven by my current organization and the general lack of understanding that the business has of the advantages of social media. In general, the organization isn’t the most “tech savvy” business, and being a small business (<200 employees) it is managed closely by the executive team. When your CEO, who directly manages sales and a considerable portion of the operations of the business, doesn’t use social media in any form and states that it could be a fad, you definitely will not find yourself making much headway on winning a “benefits of social media” argument.

I think this is why this class has been somewhat of a struggle, because I’ve spent the past 4 years in this business and the entire concept of social media is lost. In my company, the general perception is that social media is a tool for teenagers to send each other pictures, rather than having any business advantages. If I was to venture a guess, I believe it comes down to the element of tangibility and control. The business cannot determine an exact ROI for investing in social media both for internal or marketing purposes and as a result it feels like a high-risk investment. One could make any number of arguments such as that its not about risk its about non-inclusion in the only marketing method that will matter and avoiding involvement means you’re not on the map, social media has been proven by countless other companies in all industries to improve the quality of innovation and process through increased collaboration, and that as an already small business competing against larger organizations we only make the business look smaller by not joining an industry that’s not a trend .. its been growing solidly for a decade and its not going anywhere. But, in the end, resistance is there and these arguments are not taking hold.

I’m left with the feeling that much like how popular trends in fashion styles and music leave designers and musicians in the dust after a decade of popularity only to leave them on a “Remember the ’80’s” CD you can get at the gas station, social media may leave companies in the dust as they struggle to understand why their customers drift to the companies that are in their sights through our modern social streams.

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