If Memphis is “getting tired of” social media?…maybe Memphis isn’t doing it right!

August 7th, 2014   •   14 comments   

MBJThis week the Memphis Business Journal posted a story about why Memphis is getting tired of Social Media. The annual survey (conducted by a Memphis-based PR firm and a Memphis- based research firm) results will be released soon according to a recent tweet.

 

I don’t need to do research or conduct a study to know when to allocate resources to hire a social media manager to meet client demand. Our firm has seen tremendous growth this past year in the digital space and we don’t think it’s going away. Statistics show upward trends in Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in users and usage in the last quarterly earnings announcement. Twitter was up dramatically, in fact. New platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are growing dramatically. There is not a shred of evidence anywhere that the use of social media is in decline. If “Memphis is getting tired of social media…” then we are moving backwards!

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to be a keynote speaker at the DFW Rocks Social Media Day conference in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas on June 30th, or social media day as declared by Mashable in 2010. The entire conference was focused on how businesses are using social media–and the growth of social media in the B2B (business to business) space. Memphis, if we are getting lazy in the digital space, we’d better wake up and smell the coffee or the world is going to kick our proverbial business butt.

 

Here are some compelling facts that I think are important when considering how social media is being used and measured. Some of these topics I took away from the experts at the DFW Rocks conference and many of the SEO points were made by @ShellyKramer.

 

1. Businesses across the board have increased their budgets for social media integration across business platforms. In fact, according to a recent guest post on the Mark Schaefer Grow Blog, “digital is the only media channel predicted to grow in the next 3 years, CEO’s are more involved in digital efforts than ever before and their enterprises are now investing enough to meet their overall digital goals.” Click here to read the full guest blog post by Rob Petersen

 

2. Brands know that content is to be built to show and grow in a very public way. “2014 will be the year of short form sound, sight and motion…gifs, vine and Instagram videos will deliver greater viewership and higher engagement than long-form. Agencies will compete over who can tell the shortest stories with the biggest impact. Consumers will be charmed as their attention spans continue to deteriorate.”–Julie Fleischer, Director, Media & Consumer Engagement, Kraft Foods (slide from the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX conference)

 

3. SEO truth and changes by Google: There is no “page 1” of Google anymore. Google’s changes daily mean you cannot have good SEO results without good content–original, good content. See a recent article in Forbes on The Top 7 SEO Trends Dominating 2014 and a blog post on the Necessity of an Active Blog for a Successful SEO Initiatives, both articles supporting the importance of fresh content and other trends for improving SEO results.

 

4. Top most effective, measurable things of “high growth companies:” Focus on data (measure), email marketing, creating more content, blogging and integration across social media channels. This supports my belief (and what I tell clients) that social media doesn’t replace traditional marketing but it is a massive enhancer.

 

5. Data comes largely from online and social media. Questions brands are now asking about what their data shows:
-How many web visits per day/week/month?
-What % of traffic is unique vs. return?
-What keywords actually bring them to your site?
-What content brings them to your site?
-What are they doing there?
-What sites refer them to your site? (Much traffic comes from the social sites)
-What do they talk about online and in social about your product, service, niche, etc?

 

6. How businesses are tracking success:
-Measure most popular Twitter content
-Measure most popular blog content
-LinkedIn adopters (groups, opportunities, RFQ’s, sales)
-Opt-ins, downloads, contact form submissions
-Results of landing page campaigns, email campaigns
-Blog, email and newsletter content can lead to opportunities, but you must track this activity

 

7. Companies are using social media and are now asking questions based on tracking results. The results are driving better (shorter) content, more pictures and use of video, measurement tactics and tracking, training, and allocation of resources for hiring outside strategists.

 

8. Facts and data should drive the strategy. I work with clients on developing strategies based on data- what works, what doesn’t. Without factual information, you cannot expect to develop a compelling social media or digital plan. Social media is not a tool that you use without knowing what you expect to achieve (for more on this, visit my previous blog posts).

 

9. You cannot watch TV anymore and not hear “tweet to me” or “hit us up on Facebook” as the mainstream media is integrating all shows with social media tools.

 

So if Memphis is tired of social media, here’s what I say: get on board because it is not going away and Google is driving the ship. If you are a business owner and you don’t know how to do social media the strategic way, find someone who can help you. Because guess what, it’s a shark world we live in and the fittest survive. That means those who successfully integrate social media across the board are the ones with all the buzz, and the opportunities. And if you don’t believe me, travel outside of the 901 and visit a conference in Texas or NYC. You will learn a lot! Thanks for reading this and I’d love to hear your comments.

14 comments

  1. Great post, Amy. And I agree with your analysis. I hear this kind of nonsense all the time and unfortunately it’s a common misconception. In my experience with brands in both the B2B and B2C space, not that social media doesn’t “work,” it’s that companies don’t understand the nuances of social, how it impacts SEO, how it impacts the content you create, how it impacts what you’re doing with regard to your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts, how it can impact your product development, and also how it can impact your customer service and customer engagement strategies. If you’re not thinking about social media in THAT context but instead are just blasting out content in social media channels without data and a strategy driving it, then of course it won’t “work” for you. Nobody likes to be advertised to, and unfortunately so many companies (large and small) don’t have the expertise, don’t care about taking the time to get expertise and/or are still operating under the mindset that social media is “free” so anyone can (and should) do it. Handled that way, social will rarely “work.”

    There’s so much I could say on this topic, but suffice it to say that if social media isn’t “working” for you or your business, it could be that you’re the reason it’s not working. Social media isn’t a magic bullet that is guaranteed to generate revenue. It is but one part of an integrated marketing strategy that can be effective at delivering some measurable results. But it requires budget, expertise, a sound strategy and the right kind of content to help deliver the desired results. And if all those pieces aren’t part of the equation, well of course it’s not going to deliver any real value.

  2. Amy Howell says:

    Great comments Shelly! Couldn’t agree more. Thank you for all of the great information you shared in Texas! I think a BIG part of this is that you can NEVER stop learning and growing–why I try and get to these conferences to meet folks like you. More heads are better than one when it comes to strategy. Thanks for commenting here on my blog!

  3. Unless Memphis lives alone in its own universe, this research has to be impossibly flawed. It is absolutely counter to research conducted by Pew, Edison, and every other credible research firm. I would like to look more closely at the methodology and sampling error because this is just wrong. Unless of course Memphis is different from the rest of the planet.

  4. Amy Howell says:

    Memphis does sometimes dance to it’s own tune but this is something too important to ignore. Mark Schaefer, it sounds like it’s time for you to come over here and let’s do a gig together! Oh, and eat some BBQ on Beale St?

  5. Excellent post, Amy. You’ve just provided business owners with a mini-Primer on SM and business. I had a conversation about the power and necessity of social media for companies with a marketing colleague this morning. Can you find any media or marketing outlet—print, TV, radio, news reporters, trade publications, business journals, community events, state or national initiatives—that is not relying on dual and triple screens to tell their stories? To stay relevant and part of a larger conversation, small and large companies are engaged on social media to tell their business stories, find facts, gain competitive intelligence, attract new business, and most importantly, be found online.

    I just came from a meeting with Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Their budget was cut drastically and it took out most of their traditional marketing spend. I said, “What are you doing?” The director said, “All social.” High five for PA!!

    In the WSJ today it says, “Google processes over 3.5 billion queries daily while each American owns, on average, four digital devices.” (Page A9) “A 2013 report found that Americans aged 18-64 spend an average of 3.2 hours a day on social networking sites.” Business is all about relationships and connecting—there’s no better way to do that than on social media channels.

    I’m interested in reading the survey results. Hopefully the title is very misleading!!

  6. With all due respect to Ed Arnold, I really feel like the original article falls victim to a bad headline. I don’t think Memphis is getting tired of social media. The article says that 70% of the survey respondents “participate in digital engagement more than a few times a day.” While this may be down from 2013’s 76%, I have a hunch it may be due to lack of extra time on everybody’s agendas. People are busier than ever these days. I didn’t respond to the survey. There’s just no extra time in my life right now. I had much rather be working and playing in real life, as well as on social media, than taking the time to respond to a survey. Readers still need to consider that the MAJORITY of those polled admitted to visiting social media sites MORE than a few times a day.

    Also, when I read that there was a decrease from 76% to 70%, I didn’t judge that as “significant.” Could it be the beginning of a trend? Perhaps, but lets wait and see. We all know that business, like the tide, ebbs and flows. There are too many other factors that could be at work in the survey to determine that Memphis is tired of social media.

    I will not deny that there may be some user fatigue out there due to navigating the constant changes. People get worn out when their stuff looks different (Facebook are you listening?). This is precisely where I throw in a self-serving, shameless plug. Navigating the ebbs and flows and constant changes is a major reason businesses need a professional handling and helping steer social media with them.

    What my focus is on from the original article is the statement that 70% of the survey respondents “participate in digital engagement more than a few times a day.” Keywords here are “participate” and “engagement.” They are not just stopping by to look around. The majority of those polled are actively PARTICIPATING and ENGAGING. Do you want to miss out on that? The majority says “no.” The majority is not tired of social media.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the actual numbers in another article and drawing my own conclusions. While the results might indicate a downward trend, it’s my hunch that we’re dealing with the effects of busier lives more than an overall tiredness of social media.

    • Amy Howell says:

      Great points Lisa! I love the thought that busy people don’t have time for surveys, hence, how good are the surveys? Very interesting point you make. THANKS!

  7. Tom Webster says:

    Thanks for this, Amy. I won’t disparage the primary study itself, but I will note two things:

    1. 70% of respondents participate in digital engagement “more than a few times per day.” The only other things I do more than a few times per day are eat, pee and nap (I work from home). Seems like the headline is a tad overstated.

    2. The author claims that the current figure, 70%, is off “significantly” from the previous study’s 76. The sample on this study (http://www.researchdynamicsinc.com/2014-report.pdf) was 222, which has a margin of error of 7%. So, technically. this year is off *insignificantly* from the last study. There, I fixed it.

  8. As you well know, you market your product or service wherever your audience is. Perhaps it’s not a matter of getting tired, but a reluctance to meet people where they are, in the mediums they live. If you have a business that markets on platforms you like, and choose not to evaluate the return on investment, that’s up to you. If your audience prefers social media and you’re not there, you should have plenty of time on your hands to write your own obituary very soon.

  9. Amy Howell says:

    Kathy!!! You never cease with words of wisdom delivered with humor! Oh, wait–that’s why you teach this stuff for a living. Thank you.

  10. Steve Fracchia says:

    Thanks for this heads up Amy!! We can always count on you. I am just a bean-counter, so what do I know?? But, I am sure we don’t have the option of “getting tired of social media” even if we wanted to. That would be equivalent to reverting to a typewriter because I am tired of Word, or a 14-column pad of paper because I am tired of Excel. Keep up your great work!

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