The time to hesitate is through

I read three things today that brought about the subject for this post:

The first was this graphic, which I saw on The Cow blog whilst waiting for the train at Ladbroke Grove Station.

corporatemediacurve thumb The time to hesitate is through

The graph made me laugh, but at the same time got me down as it is exactly the scenario that I have faced for the last four or so years whenever trying to pitch for budget or permission to engage in a more social manner.

The second was Forrester’s ‘Social Media Playtime is Over’ report that seemed to be the perfect addition to the chart above. The report found that more than half of the organisations surveyed will increase their spending on social media despite the downturn. However, to put this in context they are likely to be starting from a low base. According to Ad Age, who presumably had full access to the report:

Three-quarters of those surveyed who knew their budgets said they allowed for $100,000 or less for social media tools over a 12-month period. And they are not integrating social media into their overall marketing strategy. Instead, they are “experimenting” with isolated tactics and hoping that they will take the place of long-term strategy.

The third item was an email from Elizabeth. Phil Ryan The digital guy where she works, Four Communications, had done a quick survey around the office that morning.

He sent an email with the following request in it:

Do you belong to a social network (e.g. Facebook)? If so can you let me know which one you belong to and also how many friends/ contacts / fans (whatever the term used on your social network) have you got.

The clever chap then did some sums and emailed everyone later that day with the following:

Around 100 (MG – there is about 140 people at the organisation, though I can’t imagine they all responded) of you belong to one or more social networks

The average friend/contact number works out to be just under 300 friends each.

Taking a low estimate of each of your friends/contacts having around 200 friends each themselves..

That’s a potential of 6,000,000 contacts with just two degrees of separation. Puts online into context doesn’t it and gives us some ideas on how to leverage.

None of these three things were connected, but the underlying issue is unmistakable. That is that there is a group out there that get this stuff and are loudly proclaiming the importance of it. On the other side there is a group that have their heads in the sand.

Which side is your organisation?

Social media is not that hard and with the right advice you will reap the rewards, perhaps not overnight, and definitely not without hiccups, but you will be better off in the long run.  So, listen to your agencies and the people internally that are recommending investment. Put an appropriate amount of budget aside and also make the appropriate resourcing investments.

Did I mention I am looking for a job? icon smile The time to hesitate is through If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

  • Claire

    Nice post – agree with all your thoughts, but at the same time understand how organisations are very tentative. Many corporates who have made the jump have made pretty hideous failures.

    I feel the first hurdle is to get people using it, as there is no way of truely understanding social media unless you're a part of it. Therefore the campaigns that result will hopefully be more successful and respectful of their audience.

  • matthewgain

    Yep Claire, agree completely on the encouraging employees to engage and trial the services – shame so many companies block access to those tools for their employees though…

    All organisations make mistakes when they try something new. Be that moving into a new geographical market, a new market segment or engaging with social media. The trick in my mind is to accept that mistakes will be made, be prepared to be humble and learn from those mistakes and keep trialling until you get more right than you get wrong.

    Doing nothing at all is definitely a hideous failure. If not in the short term, then definitely in the medium to long term.