U.S. businesses trail foreign firms in social marketing, according to a recent post by Mike Sachoff on Webpronews.com. Companies in India, China and Germany are ahead of the U.S. when it comes to leveraging social media for business. I’m not 100% sure why this is the case, but I can offer a few possible explanations. Additionally, I can argue several reasons why Cincinnati-based firms should buck the current trend and use social media more.
Most U.S. consumers are using social networking! In fact, a recent Nielsen study shows that 75% of U.S. households are participating in social media. This provides ample opportunities for local businesses. Creating and updating a company blog, participating in online communities, creating a Facebook page and tweeting are great ways to interact online with current and prospective customers.
I believe many businesses avoid social media due to lack of experience or “know-how.” The social media landscape is very large and complex. Often times, the hardest thing prioritizing which social media sites to participate on. Social media is also changing the way we conduct business. A Mashable article highlights several trends emerging from social media in business. These trends include using social media to make connections versus selling, broadcasting the little things (e.g., examples of great customer service), companies being themselves instead of controlling image and being available everywhere. In general, I think a lot of businesses simply have trouble adapting to these trends and implementing strategies to capitalize on them.
Cincinnati based P&G (Procter and Gamble) is one company that gets social media though. P&G is using social media strategies to combat negative buzz about its products and services. Being involved in social media allows P&G to identify and resolve customer complaints quickly. Katelyn Salyers, another Cincinnati Social Media Examiner, provides several examples of other Cincinnati small businesses using social media effectively.
Social marketing can definitely help improve business. It requires commitment and hard work. The fact that a majority of U.S. households participate in social media means your business should be active online as well. Whether you are running a marketing department for a large firm or promoting a small business, social marketing offers something for everyone. Several questions remain though. Why is your business not using social marketing? What are you waiting for? Start using social marketing more today!