I had an insightful experience last Thursday as I sat in my Social Media class. Our professor was asking some general questions about groups familiarity with Twitter and other social media tools.
The results were astonishing.
In a class of 40 students in ranging in age from 18 to early 20s the overwhelming consensus was that we as a class were nearly clueless how to utilize these avenues of media. And with that on my brain, my mind began to wander.
PR practitioners and marketers think the express train to the coveted under 35 year old market is though social media. They look at statistics like 98% of that demographic has an online presence via Facebook or some lesser version thereof and they draw conclusions, conclusion that aren’t always accurate.
If my own experience can be applied to the larger whole, are there misconceptions being made about people’s adoption of social media? Or more importantly, are there industries and companies that should have a greater social media presence than others, and I believe the answer is yes.
I think its absolutely possible that many business are wasting resources by implementing too large of a social media presence or one that isn’t based in the right principles. I developed some broad questions that can help decide if social media is right for you.
- Is your business in the technological sector
- Are a significant portion of your publics active social media users
- Are your peers and competitors being successful via social media
- Is there significant discussion about your industry on social media sites
If you can answer “yes” to half of those questions than it might be wise to consider your online presence, and ask yourself one more important question: “How will my organization be perceived through social media?”
That might not sound particularly telling, but consider this: If you use social media to advertise or shamelessly promote, you will certainly have a negative effect on your organizations image. Social media is two-way relationship, the web 2.0, and if those elements are key in your social media approach, you’d better try another road.