Businesses still wary of Social Media

After Jenni Vance from Shreveport shared with us her thoughts on social media and the need to give it proper attention in the corporate setting I was inspired to do some thinking of my own about how businesses now regard social media and how far we have (or haven’t) come in the last few years.

Remember the movie Animal House?

Of course you do… and if you don’t, leave. You are no longer welcome here.

Ok, I’m kidding but I’m thinking the majority of folks have at least heard of the movie, yes?

Well there’s a great scene, among many for sure, where John Blutarsky, AKA Bluto is trying to rally the Delta fraternity to action against Dean Wormer and his Double Secret Probation. At one point he exclaims:

“This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re gonna let it be the worst. Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto…”

Now, take this line and translate into Social Media speak…

“This could be the greatest way for us to get more sales, engage our customers, really make more money, but you’re gonna let it slip right on by. Ooh, we’re afraid to try Social Media, Bluto…”

How else can you explain the fact that of the 726 small businesses surveyed by the American Express OPEN’s Fall Small Business Monitor only, ONLY 40% indicated they use at least one Social Media platform?

Yes, that number is up from the 10% who were using Social Media in 2009 but…Not even half are using ANY form of Social Media?

Why?

One word: FEAR.

Nearly two years ago Marc Meyer wrote of the 15 reasons why companies may fear social media.

Among the reasons listed…

  • Fear (remember that whole “only thing to fear is fear itself” mantra?)
  • Lack of experience
  • Ignorance
  • Waiting for ROI
  • Lack of Resources
  • Unwilling to be transparent

And don’t think this fear applies only to small businesses, either.

Earlier this year, Econsultancy wrote a story titled “CNN’s irrational fear of social media” which included a quote from CNN U.S. president Jonathan Klein:

“…the competition I’m really afraid of are social networking sites.” Why? They’re “an alternative that threatens to pull people away from us.”

Now obviously the context of the CNN fear is different than that of a small business but… fear is fear and for many, many reasons, people still fear Social Media.

Why?

Well, that is what we need to figure out.

Why do you think people and companies and businesses both far and wide, both small and large, fear Social Media?

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About andrewodom

Social Media Manager at Delta Career Education Corp.
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8 Responses to Businesses still wary of Social Media

  1. Sabrina Kennon /Student Services Coordinator, OLS says:

    Many older business owners are inexperienced in anything other than printed media and I imagine for many, never fully accepted and embraced the internet. Stories of internet identity theft and foreign cyber-pirates draining their bank accounts plague their minds. I think another issue for some business owners is a perceived image that social media is impersonal and a time waster pulling from production. An perception I would love change.

    • andrewodom says:

      Interesting that you bring up identity theft and cyber-pirating. Those are such isolated events. It almost makes me wonder if print media blows those stories out of proportion to keep people wary of online marketing.

      I would love to change that perception too. I think it needs to be noted that we actually reach more people with a more targeted message and in a faster manner than traditional media. While we don’t need to lost brick -n- mortar marketing techniques we certainly need to compound them with online!

      Thank you for adding your comments and observations Sabrina.

  2. Tyler says:

    Definitely agree with both of you so far. I think the biggest component of the mass fear of social media is ignorance. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. Especially concerning the population that has not grown up with technology.
    For instance, one of my presenters and I sit on a committee for a career fair at a local high school. We are the youngest members on the committee (by about 10 years) and therefore the closest in age to their students. Whenever we suggest using social media outlets to promote the event we are met with backlash due to a lack of understanding of the tools available. For anyone that works in the high school market it is imperative to know what kids do in their spare time, and the fact of the matter is, a lot of that time is spent on facebook or other social sites. In the short time that we have been using social media within our organizations we have seen a lot of progress. We have met it with open arms and open minds and that is why we will continue to grow and succeed in an industry where others have not been so fortunate.

    • andrewodom says:

      I agree with you except for one statement. It is no longer their spare time. It is a priority in the life of people under 32 years old. Facebook in particular is a time budgeted event now. It is a prevalent use of time and the major source of information gain. I am so glad to hear y’all are meeting with such great success! Keep it up!

  3. Molly Margosian says:

    I agree with Sabrina. When I think of those who fear change, and fear the internet, fear Social Media, I think of my dad. He is 65, retired, and did business the old fashioned way – with a handshake. When I talk to him about my job, or email, messages on Facebook he seems to have a hard time catching on to what I’m saying some of the time. (*maybe I talk too fast). Regardless, about a year ago my sister and I talked to him about getting a computer, email account and Skyping since all of this children live across the country. Though the thought of it intrigued him for about a minute, the he declined. He said he’s just fine talking to us on the telephone or when we come to visit. The days of doing business with a handshake are not gone, it’s just more technological now. He likes face to face, I get it – but he can watch his grandchildren take their first steps on a webcam (since I am in SC and he is in OH). I don’t know why the fear exists, I’ll ask him and get back to you.

  4. Jennie says:

    Ok, I’m going to do devil’s advocate here today. Before the flamming starts let me just disclaim that I love social media and think it is mostly an underused tool. But, relationships (any relationships) must be multi deminsional. Yes we need to use social media to reach new students, perspective externship sites ect. But we also need to recognize the student in the hallway – not just online. If we fail to bring the link of social media into the face-to-face interaction then we have truely missed the opportunity. I think maybe that is what is scary for some about social media, let me explain…

    In order to have a relationship with someone you must know them. That takes time and energy. Let’s keep it work related. To be a good leader I need to know my staff. I mean, really know them. That means I have to engage in active listening while they talk. That same active listening must happen online as well if I’m to have a real relationship with some one. That is more difficult for people to do because they are just reading text. It’s a skill, and for an older generation it really might be confusing how to do that. As a matter of fact, I think some (maybe even alot) of people that use social media and have TONS of friends aren’t very good at it either. But it’s that part of the relationship that seals the deal in creating relationships with our “fans”. If you spend 2 weeks on FB talking to a perspective student and then they come in and you don’t know them, well – you’ve almost made it worse. Just my two cents.

    • andrewodom says:

      Nothing wrong with sitting on my other shoulder for a while (read: Jennie with devil horns and a pitchfork):

      “But, relationships (any relationships) must be multi dimensional.” You couldn’t be more right. Part of social media’s flaw in business is that too many people think social media is the be all that ends alls. In reality it should be COMPOUNDED with traditional media in order to reach all target audiences and appeal the most broad audience possible.

      You have raised some excellent points about online, social media, and relationships. Thank you – as always – for sounding off!

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