I attended an interesting roundtable this morning with the savvy folks at SMEI Boston. The subject of the conversation was, basically: Is social media worth it? Very quickly, we all agreed that it’s a necessary activity for marketers. Next, was a discussion about what is SM’s greatest value.
This provoked some lively talk, and Lisa Dennis from Knowledgence Associates began by relating her experience conducting a series of interviews with execs, asking them about the role social media plays in their purchasing decisions. What she heard from them was, “Not much.”
Mark Campanale countered by asking where they were getting their information from instead. Among other things, Lisa listed websites. Mark’s immediate response was that if websites are an information source, chances are good that social media played a role. In other words, a buyer may not read a company’s Twitter feed, or go on their Facebook page, but he may do a Google search and find the company’s website because of the their social media activity.
After that the conversation ranged across a variety of topics related to social media, and our main conclusion was that SM is a varied and amorphous thing and that there are any number of ways to take advantage of social media beyond its SEO value. It could be valuable as a way to: demonstrate expertise, conduct research, enhance customer relations, and engage in crisis control.
None of these activities have a tangible ROI, but we all agreed that not using SM isn’t an option. For a few further thoughts on this, see a recent article from Marketing Profs on the subject, Is Social Media a Waste of Time and Money for B2B?
What is the greatest value of social media for you?