I used to think I was a social media guru. I’ve been using Twitter since before it was “cool.” I have accounts on Instagram, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare and an embarrassing number of albums on Facebook. So when my boss at my summer internship asked me to help him develop the company’s social media strategy, I confidently accepted the task. I was in for a rude awakening. I quickly learned that tweeting on behalf of a $23 billion electronics distributor was a far cry from managing my own personal account. Then there’s the analytics behind the whole operation and translating that into ROI. I was in way over my head.
I understand the social benefits of social media. I’ve seen first hand how it can add dimension to your relationships and enable you to engage with others in unprecedented ways, making it easier than ever to maintain connections. Is knowing that Taylor Swift’s cat is tired today really going to enhance our relationship? No, but part of social media’s greatness also lies in its ability to provide sheer entertainment to an audience of over a billion viewers:
The difficulty is figuring out the role this all plays in the world of business. We’ve seen countless examples of consumers turning to social platforms with customer service issues. We’ve also seen artists turn into megastars through grassroots marketing campaigns fueled by social efforts (i.e. Lady Gaga). These are examples of companies whose end-user is the consumer, but what purpose does social media serve in business-to-business companies?
More B2B CMOs continue to ask this question and are beginning to seriously evaluate the value of social media in their marketing efforts. In November 2012, Eloqua asked 548 B2B marketers about their approach to social media. 36 percent said their organization doesn’t have any sort of social media strategy in place. I believe this is a tremendous opportunity for recent grads to find their niche in certain businesses. That is why I am taking this course. While the job opportunities grow, so do the number of professionals who include ‘social media skills’ on their resumes. Knowing what a hashtag is does not make me a social media guru, nor will it guarantee me any job offers.
Next time my boss asks me to help the company gain a presence in social media, hopefully I’ll be more equipped for the job.