There are several challenges, namely:
1. Many organizations do not have anyone focused on social media.
2. People within an organization may be using social media but in an unofficial way off the side of their desk, meaning there's no corporate-wide strategy or voice. If that person answers questions on whichever social network but is gone on vacation for a week, there's a gap in response and a loss of momentum.
3. Companies not currently budgeting for social media don't know how much to allocate in terms of employee(s)' time. Asking an employee to spend 2 hrs per week may be a big increase relative to what the firm had been doing, but that's a drop in the ocean. The result: few tangible results over the course of 2 hrs per week, and the organization drops the initiative after a month.
4. The need to establish and meet short-term goals. It's difficult to generate a following or traction quickly on social media. It takes time and patience -- which is a tough sell these days. Whereas placing an ad can be quick and offers understandable metrics.
5. The people in charge of budgets and priorities may not be familiar or comfortable with social media. Most of the quizzes on Facebook seem to be time-wasters so why should an organization get online to find out what TV shows your friends like?
That said, every new client we talk to now asks us about social media, our experience, and the experience of other clients. But many still relegate social networking as a nice to-do, not a must-be done.
Marc Hausman posted an interesting blog on the topic, "Corporate Budgets Must Reflect the Shift in Influence," with some good statistics. I agree with him, but feel that the above items means that PR agencies and internal PR functions will need to make the case for embracing social more compelling.
All good points Norman. Let me add one opinion based on having spent about 75% of my career inside corporations. I think one of the obstacles to faster adoption of social marketing inside many companies is the label "social" media. Management thinks the word means something "outside" of business, which of course, in today's world, is bad thinking. I do believe most consumer marketing organizations know the difference and are making good use of the social networks, but when it comes to B2B marketing, a lot more work needs to be done to convince management of its value.
Just one opinion.
Thanks, Ray. Based on what I've been hearing, the word "social" can trigger the response that it's not business-focused. That's one reason we refer to our communications practice as targeting traditional and online media. On the B2C side, it's a bit easier, with Dell, Comcast and others able to point to successful implementations of a social media initiative.
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