Social Media – Explaining It To The Non-Believer

Never let it be said, that just because I don’t believe in it (as a valid or valuable communications and marketing tool) that I don’t share the opposing viewpoint for the benefit and edification of you, my dear, dear blog snorkellers. So here is the script of a presentation given recently at an events industry event. (Yes, you read that right.) As I read it, I thought – well, if I HAD to try and convince someone of the value of social media, this is the sort of thing I’d use. I will issue a health warning though. It doesn’t, at any point, answer the questions ‘how much will I have to invest to leverage social media to my advantage’ and ‘what sort of return can I expect on my investment’. This is OK for the events industry, who have always struggled with ROI, and just keep talking until people forget what it was they wanted to know, but in other, more focused sectors, this might be an issue. Make up your own mind.


Social media is “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos, and audio.”

More simply it just describes the millions of conversations people are having with each other across the world 24/7 

Why the HELL should I care?  Here are 10 really, really good reasons why…  

Because social media is now the number one online activity beating porn and personal email to the top spot. 
(Nielsen Wire)  
REASON #2   

Because 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks.

(Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places) 
REASON #3   

Because time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, accounting for 10% of all internet time.

(Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places) 
REASON #4   

Because online including social media has become the most influential source in helping consumer make purchasing decisions.

(Weber Shandwick Inline Research)
REASON #5   

Because social media is like word of mouth on steroids.

Because social media is democratizing communications. Big time.

“Technology is shifting the power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s the people who are in control.”

(Rupert Murdoch, Global Media Entrepreneur)  

Because millions of people are creating content for the social web.

Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it ought to be.

(Business Week, February 19, 2009)
The next 3 billion consumers will access the internet from a mobile device.   Google Already 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices.  People update anywhere, anytime. 
Imagine what that means for bad customer experiences!       
REASON #9   

In almost all cases social media is free.  All it will cost you is time.

Because social media is hell of a force to be reckoned with.
Years to reach 50 million users:  
Radio – 38 years
TV – 13 years
Internet – 4 years
iPod – 3 years
Facebook added 175 million users between in less than 11 months 
The phenomenal growth of Facebook:
January 2009: 150 million users
April 2009: 200 million users
July 2009: 250 million users
September 2009: 300 million users
Friday, November 6th, 2009: 325 million users
That’s half a million users every single day

If Facebook were a country it would be bigger than the USA and the 3rd largest in the World  
1.                         China
2.                         India
3.                         Facebook
4.                         United States
5.                         Indonesia
6.                         Brazil
7.                         Pakistan
8.                         Bangladesh
9.                         Russia
10.                      Nigeria     

13 hours:  the amount of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.

412.3 years: the length of time it would take to view every YouTube video.

1 billion: the number of YouTube videos viewed per day.

3.06 billion: The number of photos archived on as of June 2009. That’s roughly 1 photo per every 2 people on the planet.

1382%: The year on year growth rate of Twitter users from February 2008 to February 2009.

3,000,000: the average number of Tweets sent per day on

5.4 billion: The number of twitter messages sent since launch
5 billion: The number of minutes spent on Facebook each day
1 billion: The amount of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.

Social media is not yet another channel for broadcasting bullsh*t.

You see, it’s supposed to be a dialogue, not a monologue.

One way marketing has had its day! 

Stop thinking “campaigns”. Start thinking “conversations”.

Listening first, selling second 
Unfortunately most companies are still treating social media like just another marketing channel when in fact it’s so much more…

1: public relations

2: customer service

3: loyalty-building

4: collaboration

5: networking

6: thought-leadership

And yes, customer acquisition, too.  

If your product sucks, social media won’t fix it.

However, if your customer service sucks, social media can help.

If your repeat business sucks, social media can help.

If your company’s word of mouth sucks, social media can help.

Social media playtime is over – its time to get serious!     
Never forget the basic rules…

Rule #1: listen – Google alerts and Tweetdeck (for starters)

Rule #2: engage

Rule #3: measure – audience, engagement , loyalty, influence action (metrics should map to goals)

Now go out there and get social!  Because this is only the beginning.”

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