Thursday, April 16, 2009

Social Media Know-It-Alls?

Any respectable search marketer knows our industry is ever-evolving. Google’s introduction of SearchWiki late last year and their new AdWords interface are just two examples of significant changes in the optimization and paid search landscape.

General marketers seem to understand this, too, as evidenced by the fact that “It’s too hard to stay abreast of best practices” is the number one reason why they outsource to search agencies like DBE (according to SEMPO’s State of Search Annual Survey). Granted these respondents are already engaged in search marketing to some degree but their answers to other questions in the survey demonstrate they understand the complexities of search and appreciate the value of investing time and money to properly leverage it for competitive business advantage.

Unfortunately, it appears that the same understanding and appreciation for social media marketing is not yet manifest. Or so one would surmise from this Marketing Sherpa Chart-Of-The-Week:

How Knowledgeable Are Marketers With No Social Media Experience?
These are people saying they are knowledgeable about social media marketing when they have not yet used it in any form for their business. The obvious implication is that some personal use of Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter qualifies as “knowledge.”
But knowing how to set-up a personal profile is a far cry from knowing how to effectively manage an online community or generate viral attention for your company’s brand. That’s a task that requires an in-depth knowledge of social media tool sets, familiarity with each of the communities' individual culture, and an understanding of the most effective strategies for building a following. Remember, just like it was when blogs first arrived, for every social media success story, there are a thousand campaigns that fall silent on the web, or worse, that fall flat on their face.

So I guess until we get the kind of research that helps debunk the “anyone can do it” approach to social media, it looks like we’ve got some more explaining to do in the short term (we being DBE and our fellow search/social media marketers). But maybe the learning curve won’t be too long as people see social media is evolving at an even more rapid pace than SEO and paid search.

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