88% of Companies are Clueless When it Comes to Social Media

In yesterday’s article I wrote about how the web is changing dramatically, shifting away from the old model to a new, social and mobile model.

This massive shift is taking place at lightning speed.

And, guess what … companies large and small hate to have to adapt to fast-moving change. Large and medium-sized companies in particular find it hard to turn on a dime and adjust their marketing plans to the new realities online.

That said, the vast majority of companies have at least taken the first step, by creating social media profiles.

According to Harvard Business Review, 79% of companies in the U.S. are either using or planning to use social media as part of their marketing mix.

They know they have to “go where their customers are.” They have no choice. If tens of millions of people are spending more and more time on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social sites, then it would be madness for any company not to have a presence there as well.

But here’s the thing …

According to the same survey, only 12% of companies feel they’re using social media channels effectively.

That’s right … 88% of companies know they’re not doing well on social media.

This represents an opportunity for online writers and copywriters that’s simply unprecedented. And, this is why, if I were starting out today, I would be all over social media. Big time.

This is like being a driving instructor in a city where 88% of the adult population doesn’t know how to drive.

Or being an accountant in a city where 88% of companies don’t know how to file their tax returns.

Opportunities like this come along once in a generation.

And, if you’re thinking these companies already have staff devoted to writing and managing their social media, think again. The same study shows that fewer than 15% of companies have dedicated social media experts on staff.

Most companies either have unqualified employees muddling along, making a hash of it, or they outsource their social media work to outside agencies or freelance contractors.

The point is, if you’re a web writer … if you know the web and you know how to write … the rise of social media represents a scale of opportunity that’s unlikely to come along again for decades.

If your interest is piqued by the scope of this opportunity, stick with me for the rest of the week. Tomorrow, we’re going to take a look at how a few smart companies are embracing social media … and what they’re up to.

In the meantime, do a little more research yourself. Go to Google and search with phrases like, “best use of social media.” Then post your findings in the comments.

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Published: September 9, 2014

9 Responses to “88% of Companies are Clueless When it Comes to Social Media”

  1. Hi Nick, I'm intrigued by your email messages about social media. I am certified in Inbound Social Media and I found this great link:
    There is a case study in social media demographics available at: pinterest dot com/pin/240590805068049763/ that lists gender, age, education and household income (when available) for each of the social media sites listed.

    Diane P

  2. Nic,

    I pay particular attention to the Webby Awards. They have several different categories in which I have an interest in for my employer. As a freelancer, I use this site to help showcase the best of the best for clients looking for ideas. What do you think of Webby? Here's the link I use: webbyawards dot com/winners/2013/interactive-advertising-media/campaign-categories/social-media-campaigns

    Shawn Maus

  3. By the way, I'm really enjoying this series. My employer (a local school district) is finally coming in to the social media world. This series has provided me with much-needed information to help people understand the use and implications of social media. This is especially important in school communications.

    Shawn Maus

  4. "…if I were starting out today, I would be all over social media. Big time."

    I'm starting out today (well, this summer/fall), and I just finished the Web 2.0 course...looks like good timing!

    Thankfully because content marketing is so big, there's loads of help out there for us to dig into and learn all we can.

    Sharon Brodin

  5. Not what you asked for, but I wanted to comment that part of the problem with social media is, and especially with Facebook, and Google, as well, you have to have an account tied to someone's personal account. It becomes a real hassle when you have people transitioning in and out. I personally am an admin on two organizational pages on Facebook, and now they're forever tied to my account. I can't transfer content to another page, and while I can make someone an admin and take myself off, it's still tied to my personal f/b profile. So the technical end of managing social media is difficult to navigate, time-consuming, and impractical. No wonder smaller businesses can't manage.

    Guest (EllenB)

  6. I chose one subject, teen use of social media. I found many different articles relating to teen use of social media.
    Teens alone are very active, these very teens will be young adults. Soon they will be in the workforce. Social networking is limitless in its future uses and since it is now commonly used, for pinning, posting, instagrams, liking, the future scope is only increasing. For some school projects they now use skyping, you tube, pinterest and others.


  7. Hi Nick,

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I have not been paying enough attention to social media, but rather dismissing it as too much hype.
    But now, thanks to you provoking questions, I've one thing to say: #shortyawards. (industry dot shortyawards dot com) I'm just starting out with copywriting, so I'm definitely going to follow your advice. Consider my eyes opened!

    Best to you and all AWAIers out there,


    Lee Nourse

  8. Hi nick,

    I'm in the middle of your web 2.0 course here at AWAI. Great guidance and instruction!
    Look forward to reading your posts this week on "social media" as I've been active on several sites for some time but a little "blind" as to spotting the opportunities.

    John Keyser

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