The question is not really new. Is there value in embracing social media? It’s a question that caught my eye again when LBM Journal also raised it after a dealer in southern California wrote: “Our question is whether to embrace social media or not? It takes a lot of time to monitor, and is that really our target market?” LBM Journal sought answers in a survey of lumber and building material retailers and distributors.
The first three questions didn’t tell us much: eighty per cent of respondents’ companies have a presence on social media, Facebook was considered the most valuable social media platform, and the most significant responsibility – content creation – is handled, in most companies, by a member of staff.
Responses to the fourth and final question, however, were revealing for their short-sightedness. LBM Journal asked “How would you describe your company’s business strategy when it comes to social media?” In reading 64 posted comments, I was surprised to learn industry still associates social media with “selling”. In the words of social media content strategist Jay Baer, “Look, folks, you’ve got to stop thinking of social media as a direct response sales channel”. As Jackie Huba told us at The Art of Marketing Conference, “Social media is just a word-of-mouth jet stream”.
It’s evident that corporate policy is still undetermined as to the value of social media in enhancing the company brand. As the Ivey Business Journal states: “Many managers today are uncertain about what social networking really means, how it fits their business strategy, and most importantly how they can define its practical value to the business.”
Sad to learn of the passing of industry colleague and friend John Perryman, AFA Forest Products. At countless trade show events and group dinners over the years, the best seat in the house was always across from John. I will miss his great sense of humour and fun-loving spirit. Our thoughts are with his family.