I don’t think so. In fact I think we are incredibly less Social than Facebook, Twitter, Mashable, the VC’s, and everyone else who is involved in Social Media, Social Media Marketing etc will have you believe.
I like to do real world investigations. Like being at a party with 50 people and being the only person using Twitter. And NO ONE was using Facebook Mobile. Or Checking in at a Minor League Baseball Game with 5000 in attendance to find only 11 people checked in total between Foursquare and Gowalla. Or checking out Places on Facebook and finding so few check ins.
And how come we only watch 0.5 Videos per month on Facebook? How come when you look at retweets and shares the volume is so low compared to the number of…ahem…supposed participants. It is a hard fact. For every 2 log ins to Facebook today there will be only 1 action (Status Update, Link Share, Comment, or Like). ONE ACTION per two people! That is not very social to me. And if one person takes 2 actions then 3 people took NO ACTION.
I truly believe in the 85/15 rule. This is not something I crafted but it is true 85% of all Digital Advertising Clicks are done by 15% of the online population. I feel the same holds true for Social Media. 85% of all Activity is done by 15% of all users. And the activity is so huge from this 15% that the numbers look AMAZING!
I have sliced and diced the numbers over and over here. This blog is littered with proof of my hypothesis. Actually it is more a fact than a hypothesis now.
Twitter and Facebook are nice and give you a forum to engage when customers want that. But you will never engage with 99% of your customers via Social Media. At least not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not ever. Get over it. The faster you stop lying to yourself (Thank you John Falchetto very timely) about the power of social media to be harnessed for your business the better. It helps your business. But it will never drive your business. The success stories for Social Media for Brands and Businesses are so few and far between they are the exception vs the norm. And yes everyone is going to tout the exception as proof it works. Happens every time I bring this up.
So what does this mean for your business? The nuts and bolts to me for a small business marketing plan will be focus on PR, local print/online media, and community outreach efforts. Yes this includes PAID ADVERTISING! Make sure your website is nice and that the SEO is in place. Look for places to list your business that make sense like Yelp! or Professional Directories. And yes integrate Social Media Tools where it makes sense. But don’t lose focus on what really drives your business. Great product. Great service. Right price.
And most important…treat every customer like they are gold.