Social Media: Real or a Fad?

Social media is the new craze, so is it for real, or is it a fad?

Check out PODCAST: Social Media for Dentists.

It is “media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.”  Wikipedia.

It is broad.  It includes blogs, microblogging, social networking, and events.  It also includes Wiki sites, multimedia (like YouTube & Picasa), review sites, entertainment, and branding sites.

Whether you like social media or not, it would be wise to take it seriously.  Facebook, for example, has now exceeded “the great” Google as the most visited website on Earth.  Facebook has over 222 million users, which is bigger in population than most countries!

In five years, it is predicted that social media users will eclipse one billion!

The Benefits are:

  1. Low Cost.  Most social media accounts are free to setup and very intuitive.  It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to open an account.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Many social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, get indexed very easily by the search engines.  This creates an additional way customers can find you.
  3. Compliments other Marketing & Branding.  Social media is a great addition to your website and it creates the impression that your organization is well-established.  It brands you in a more comprehensive manner.
  4. Communication with Customer: Social media is very interactive by nature.  Therefore, customers can easily communicate with you by posting a question or feedback.  You or a staff member can respond quickly, which creates goodwill between you and your customer.
  5. Lead Generation.  Potential customers may make a decision to utilize your company by seeing a positive recommendation on your social media page.  This combined with SEO could create leads.

Some people swear by it.  However, I have not encountered many companies that can demonstrate that social media provides a sizable return commiserate with the amount of time invested.

Here are some Disadvantages:

  1. Uncontrolled Message.  It is difficult to control the message because comments from other users.  In addition, spammers may affect the contributions.
  2. Time.  One can spend enormous amounts of time on all their Sites.  This can take away from business activities that provide a higher ROI.
  3. Distraction.  Many people are hooked on this channel.  It is possible that employees updating their work’s social media site, may get distracted and waste time.  In addition, several social media sites have irrelevant advertisers and games next to your content, which would distract potential customers, dilute, or negatively affect your brand.

Social media is designed mostly for personal and hobby use.  Public figures and artists find social media as an excellent mechanism for keeping fan excitement high.

That said, because of the size and growth of this channel, it behooves companies to utilize the most popular sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube, to some degree.  This creates the perception that your company is progressive and credible.

In deciding your approach, you should consider Pareto’s 80/20 rule: “80 percent of results arise from only 20 percent of your efforts.”  Figure out the 20% of your marketing activities that provides 80% of results.  Focus almost exclusively on them!  Social media is likely not one of them.  So, set up your media.  Continue to monitor the media trends.  Use it to add credibility, but be careful how much you invest in your time and capital.


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